Jonathan Chesebro is an International Trade Specialist for Manufacturing and Services within the International Trade Administration. He is a member of the Aerospace Team and focuses on analysis and promotion of the aerospace industry.
This is the second of two blog articles about the Paris Air Show and the U.S. aerospace industry.
The 2011 Paris Air Show kicked off today and more than 2,100 international exhibitors are showing their wares. When most people think of Paris they think of the Eiffel Tower, fine red wines and fashionable Europeans strolling the Champs–Elysees. When U.S. aerospace companies think of Paris, they think of the world’s oldest and largest air show.
How big is the Paris Air Show? The 2011 Show will feature 2,000 exhibitors, 340,000 visitors, 200 international delegations, and 3,000 journalists. According to Louis Le Portz, Chairman of the Show, “every two years, we build the equivalent of a town with 10,000 inhabitants, in order to host 300,000 visitors.” The show will have over 140 aircraft on display and have daily flying displays.
The International Trade Administration (ITA) has been supporting U.S. aerospace companies at the Paris Air Show for several decades. This year’s ITA delegation is being led by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Nicole Lamb-Hale, Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services. At the show, Under Secretary Sánchez and Assistant Secretary Lamb-Hale will tell U.S. aerospace companies all about the activities surrounding the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI), and meet with foreign governments to discuss trade policy and advocate for U.S. firms seeking to make sales. The Show attracts the participation of CEOs from the major U.S. and foreign aerospace companies as well as high-level government officials from around the world. In addition, ITA officials will confer with U.S. Congressional and state delegations attending the trade show.
The Under Secretary and the Assistant Secretary will attend a signing ceremony on the second day of the show between Boeing and Aeroflot, Russia’s state-owned airline. Aeroflot ordered eight Boeing 777s valued at $2.1 billion, and the sales will support approximately 14,000 jobs. The sale is particularly notable since most of Aeroflot’s fleet consists of Airbus aircraft. Given that Aeroflot is Russia’s largest airline by passenger volume, and this is their third time purchasing Boeing aircraft, there will likely be additional sales in the future.
While large U.S. aerospace companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin often garner much of the attention at the Paris Air Show, ITA is making an effort to focus on small and medium enterprises and companies from the supply chain. Smaller companies are particularly important as they represent 91 percent of all U.S. exporters of aerospace products. At a roundtable luncheon hosted by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Sánchez and Lamb-Hale briefed twenty-one AIA member companies from the supply chain on the NEI and the NEI sector strategies, and discussed what ITA can do to help increase their export sales.
Innovations which benefit the environment are an overall theme of the show. Alternative aviation fuels is an emerging industry in which the United States has a lead in technology development. To demonstrate U.S. Government support for the development of U.S. aviation alternative fuels industry, ITA has been working with the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and Kallman Worldwide to support the Alternative Aviation Fuels Showcase, a live press and networking event to promote aviation alternative fuels readiness and investment opportunities. The Showcase features 16 fuel companies showcasing cutting-edge alternative jet fuel technologies. The third day of the event has been designated “investor day” and will consist of information sessions designed to spur investment in alternative fuel production and networking opportunities for fuel companies, airline customers, and investment firms. Industry observers estimate that $95 billion in investments are required to meet U.S. bio fuel demand by 2022, creating a huge investment opportunity for domestic and foreign investors in many sectors, including aviation.
ITA support for U.S. exhibitors at the Paris Air Show would not be possible without the hard work from the global Commercial Service staff. On Tuesday, the Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary met with global staff to thank them for their dedication and to brief them on the NEI and ITA activities. Forty-eight U.S. companies registered for one-on-one aerospace business counseling under the US Commercial Service’s “ShowTime” program, which takes place over two days, and which offers smaller companies the opportunity to sit down with aerospace specialists from 15 countries. Countries represented include India, Russia, Canada, Turkey, the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Ukraine. Over 300 meeting requests have been generated by the U.S. companies to discuss market potential, business strategy and next steps for their products in these markets.
Once the excitement, deal making and press surrounding the Paris Air Show ends, companies will return home to start work to fulfill the orders they received during the grand event. The next major air show will be held at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom. ITA will be there to help U.S. companies and ensure that the U.S. aerospace industry remains internationally competitive.