Air Transport World

37th Paris Air Show preview.

37th Paris air show preview

Paris air shows, so the industry always claims, are not the places for serious talking, or even making sales, but rather for the more-relaxed business of meeting and greeting, wining and dining, and showing off the latest hardware.

The 37th Salon de Paris, at Le Bourget, June 11-21, looks to blow a hole in this theory, as one of the most significant decisions in the history of aerospace--on the A330/A340 Airbus Industrie project--continues to be debated in company chalets and on the exhibition stands by senior executives of the manufacturing companies and airlines, and by visting ministers of the four European partner governments. Related topics will be the health of International Aero Engines, McDonnell Douglas' new MD-11 update of the DC-10, Airbus' A320 150-seater and Boeing's promised 7J7, now married to General Electric's Unducted Fan (UDF) powerplant.

The decision to go or not to go with the project for the 330, a twin-engine, medium-haul airliner, and the 340, a four-engine, long-haul type, both aircraft sharing the same basic wing design, slipped when the International Aero Engines consortium found it could not meet the March 31 deadline laid down by Airbus to define solutions to the immense technological challenge posed by SuperFan. This engine was the 30,000 lb. thrust, $1 billion R & D, shrouded ultra high bypass (UHB) geared, variable-pitch fan powerplant, based on the core of the V2500, which is being developed for the Airbus A320.

SuperFan was to have been hung on the A340, but suddenly the airlines that were getting interested in this new long-range airliner found themselves with a choice of one, the CFM International (General Electric /SNECMA) CFM56 in an uprated version at 30,600 lbs. of thrust, the series 5-S3, also now called the CFM56-5C1. IAE, in a board meeting shortly after the Airbus decision, itself decided that SuperFan was not deliverable in the promised time and shelved the project. Continued problems in developing the standard turbofan version of the V2500 for the A320 has forced consortium partner Pratt & Whitney to begin assisting in work on the engine's troublesome compressor, the Rolls-Royce component. …

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