Monday, June 15, 2009

Wire: 100th Paris Air Show Opens, US Air Force Pulls F-22 Raptor

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2009 -- Newswire services reported this morning that the Paris Air Show marked its 100th anniversary Monday amid rain, a gloomy economic forecast and lingering uncertainty over Airbus aircraft, following the still unexplained Air France crash over the Atlantic Ocean, two weeks ago

VOA News reported that the mood should have been upbeat to celebrate the Air Show's first century of existence, but the week-long industry event instead opened Monday with the doldrums. Airline, passenger and freight traffic has dropped in 2009 for the first time since 2001.

Additionally, the U.S. Air Force has pulled its premiere F-22 fighter jet from the show, citing other demands on its time, said a spokesman for Lockheed Martin Corp, which builds the Raptor.

Spokesman Christopher Trippick said on Monday that the F-22 also would not make an appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo, the world's largest military air show, to be held next month in Britain.

Reuters speculated, citing industry insiders, that the U.S. government may have decided it would be imprudent to bring the fighter to the air shows, since the export ban is still in effect and especially since Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told close U.S. allies like Japan that it is not for sale.

Still, the news is not completely gloomy. There is sunny weather forecast for the Paris Air Show later this week and about 300,000 visitors are expected to attend this year's event. Boeing executive Scott Carson told reporters on Monday that he expected the aviation sector would start to recover next year, according to VOA News.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Related: Paris Air Show Web Site

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