Air Transport World

Paris '87. (Paris Air Show)

Paris '87

This year's Paris air show will undoubtedly be billed as the biggest yet when the final tallies are in; air shows always are. It was certainly one of the wettest. It rained almost every day severely curtailing the flying on several days and causing more conservative cavorting by the high performance fighters on others.

But in between the rain showers show visitors had a chance to see several new transports for the first time at an air show. Airbus Industrie flew its A320 and Fokker flew its new Fokker 100 several times. British Aerospace flew its recently rolled out BAe 146-300.

Perhaps the most intriguing for airline people at the show were the new shapes in the air represented by the Beech Starship and the Piaggio Avanti. Neither are slated for the airline industry yet, but from the models on display in the exhibit halls and the discussions in the chalets, they represent a sampling of what may be in the works for the commuter industry (see commuter/regional report, this issue).

At most shows what goes on in the chalets is often more important than what is seen in the air. This Paris salon was no exception. One of the major stories just prior to Paris was the controversy about International Aero Engines and its SuperFan, especially as it related to Airbus Industrie and its A340 program. A key player in this story is Lufthansa, which has been the leading airline pushing for the A340. The SuperFan cancellation had a big impact on the A340 program. It also affected Lufthansa. Reinhardt Abraham, the airline's deputy chairman and VP-technical was at the Paris salon to discuss the situation.

Abraham said, Lufthansa will make a final judgment later this year whether to stay with the International Aero Engines V2500, which it has ordered for its fleet of Airbus Industrie A320s, or to change to the alternative CFM International CFM56, according to Reinhardt Abraham, the airline's deputy chairman and VP technical.

Abraham made this clear during the aviation salon here after signing with Airbus the kick-off order for the long-range, four-engine A340--15 firm orders and 15 options worth $2.5 billion in all. Lufthansa originally wanted these airliners to be powered by the IAE SuperFan, and was exceptionally put out when IAE said that it could not meet the technical deadline placed by Airbus on this high-bypass version of the 2500. Lufthansa's 340s will now be powered by the CFM56-5C with a maximum thrust of 30,600 lbs.

Abraham said at the salon, "We have to check on the situation as regards the A320. There are two possibilities. One is to stay with the 2500 if that engine shows the results which we expect and if we come to a positive conclusion on the long-term viability of the program. …

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