THE PARIS AIR SHOW BLOG, 18 June 2013. The two big European air shows -- Paris in odd-numbered years and Farnborough in even-numbered years -- typically revolve around an annual shootout between American and European aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus to see which company can announce more aircraft sales at these shows than the other.
Airbus usually wins the Paris Air Show , and Boeing usually wins Farnborough. It's a yearly exercise in staged anticipation with results that almost always are predictable.
This year, however, there might be a surprise or two. As of close of business today Paris time, we're half way through the four-day business component of the 2013 Paris Air Show. Guess which aircraft manufacturer is leading announced sales at the show?
Airbus? That would be a good guess, but no. Boeing? That would be the next logical try, but c'mon, it's Paris. Boeing rarely if ever wins the airplane sales announcement sweepstakes on the Continent of Europe.
Some other European airplane maker? Nope. Another North American aircraft company? Guess again.
The aerospace company with a narrow lead in aircraft sales announcements so far at Paris this year is South American aircraft designer Embraer. With two days down at Paris and two days to go, Embraer of São José Dos Campos, Brazil, has announced 381 aircraft sales, which is ahead of second-place Airbus by 70 planes. As of Tuesday Airbus had announced sales of 311 aircraft.
To put it in perspective, at Farnborough last year Embraer sold 13 planes, equal that of ATR Aircraft in Blagnac, France. At Farnborough last year Boeing announced 427 aircraft sales, while Airbus announced 123.
Embraer's dominant position at Paris this year underscores the global importance of small- and medium-sized regional passenger jets. Embraer specializes in relatively small, short-haul passenger planes, and this year announced a redesigned version of the company's E-Jets regional passenger jet family, named the E2.
The Embraer E-Jets E2 aircraft family comprises three new commercial airplanes -- the E175-E2 that seats as many as 88 passengers, the E-190-E2 that seats as many as 106, and the E195-E2, which seats as many as 132 passengers. These aircraft are designed for low fuel consumption, low fuel emissions, and quiet operations.
The E2 is driving sales this year for Embraer. On Monday the company announced 365 sales of this aircraft, and the largest order came from U.S. regional carrier SkyWest Airlines.