Air Transport World

Paris '87. (Paris Air Show)

Paris '87

The sky over Le Bourget this year took on a look similar to that over Oshkosh during the annual homebuilt annual fly-in as new designs and configurations of transports joined in the flying demonstrations for the first time. Leaders of the new shapes to come were the new Beech Starship and the Italian Piaggio Avanti which appeared at the Paris salon for the first time and flew during the flight portions of the show.

Neither of these new technology aircraft are commuter or regional transports yet, and may never become commercial airliners, but from the looks of the models in the exhibit halls and the new proposals the commuter/regional airline industry is in for some new shapes and exciting times.

When the commuter/regional market began to blossom in the U.S. in the late 1970s, manufacturers rushed to develop new transports. Most of these are the current flagships of commuter fleets. They are good, sturdy transports with generally conventional technology. This year's Paris salon showed that manufacturers are abandoning the conventional and are venturing out with new shapes and technologies to serve what they see as the developing commuter/regional industry.

The most intense activity appears to be directed at the smaller end of the market, the 19-25 seat transport currently covered by de Havilland Twin Otters, Embraer Bandeirantes, Beech 99s and British Aerospace Jetstream 31s.

Embraer already has a program with Argentina participation in the CBA-123 giving an idea of what is coming in the commuter /regional market. …

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