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51th International Paris Air Show Le Bourget, France: The biggest Air Show of the World is the place “to be” for big and small aerospace players

Visibility to suppliers and clients is crucial for producing aerospace companies who want to successfully manage their supply chains and approach their customers. For sure, there are only few events which allow to meet during a very limited time so many business partners in one location. If, in addition we talk about the world’s biggest Air Show, with a lot of innovations, then we talk “Le Bourget”.

Compared to two years ago, the political situation in Europe has significantly changed: While two years ago, perhaps no one could imagine the Ukraine conflict to lead to cooled-down relationships between the European Union and Russia, this has become an unofficial, but present topic also at Le Bourget meanwhile. One question is of course, how that will impact aerospace business with Russia. However, Russian companies showed presence not only at the booths, but also with e.g. a static display of the Superjet 100 from the Mexican Interjet Airline.

Product-wise, there has been a lot of attention to the Airbus A400M, which has been flying over Le Bourget on Monday, which is an important signal after the earlier crash of an Airbus A400M near Sevilla, Spain. Of course, the Airbus A350, as newest member of the Airbus XWB family, and the A380, as biggest passenger aircraft of the world, were showing how Airbus has set new standards. Also in economic terms, according to latest media announcements, Airbus managed to collect options and orders for 421 mid- and long range commercial aircraft, compared to “only” 331 options and orders collected by Boeing. With the Airbus E-FAN, as technology demonstrator, the first purpose-built, fully-electric general aviation training aircraft was flying over Le Bourget.

One highlight of the flight demonstrations was definitely the Dreamliner (Boeing 787) from Vietnam Airliners, which managed to do an almost 90 angle degree takeoff. This demonstration clearly showed that the latest aircraft models have much more flight dynamic capabilities than a normal aircraft passenger would ever experience.

What also deserves to be mentioned separately, is the Bombardier C Series which had performed its maiden flight in Montréal, Canada, earlier this year, and now was presented to the public for the first time. The CS300 demonstration impressed with an extremely low-noise Pratt & Whitney PurePower® PW1500G engine. The big question will be how many C Series orders will fill Bombardier’s order books how quickly. A first step with Swiss Airlines having ordered 20 CS 100 and 10 CS 300 has been made.

It would be impossible to mention all the Tier 1 and Tier 2 who demonstrated at Le Bourget how they contribute to the overall supply chain, also as risk-sharing partners – acknowledging that for some modern aircraft, up to 80 percent of value creation  are sourced from suppliers. And in the end, any supply chain will only be as strong as its weakest part, as all parts of the chain are highly relevant.

Based on these dependencies and full order books for many players, industry experts at le Bourget made clear that a paradigm change is emerging: After strong focus mainly on product excellence for the last 40 years, in addition, also process excellence is becoming more and more important.

The reasons are clear: With the foreseeable industry growth, the need for industrialized processes, not only for production, but also for integrated information exchange in the inbound supply chain, becomes more and more crucial. It does not only matter which manufacturer can deliver the best-fit product at lowest cost in the right quantities, but also how reliable the delivery can be expected when. And, in case quality problems come up, a major success factor is not only how quickly the current problem is being solved.

The question must also be how sustainable comparable quality problems can be prevented in advance in the future, as an early-warning system, ideally before quality issues emerge. The portal solution provider SupplyOn can confirm this development, from feedback from our customers: The portal solution “AirSupply” contributes to process excellence. This web-based supplier collaboration hub has been set up as an industry solution from the very beginning, under the umbrella of BoostAeroSpace as governance organization, with Airbus, Airbus Group, Safran, Thales and Dassault as founding members.

Meanwhile more than 1,200 aerospace suppliers are connected. To wrap up, Le Bourget is the place “to be”, not only for Airliners and OEMs, but also for Tiers1 and service providers – which SupplyOn can confirm, as solution provider having shared with BoostAeroSpace one booth in the Le Bourget Hall “2b”.

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