WATCH: Electric planes and the world's longest-range single aisle airliner at the Paris Air Show

2019-06-18 09:32 - Gabi Zietsman
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Aircraft manufacturers, airlines and aviation enthusiasts have come together in the French capital for the annual Paris Air Show, which started on Monday.

While Boeing took some of the spotlight regarding when their embattled 737 Max model will take to the skies again, Airbus dominated the first day with the announcement of their A321XLR - the world's longest-range single-aisle airliner.

WATCH: See the next generation of planes with flapping wing-tips 

Not only that, it's also expected to reduce fuel consumption per seat by 30% compared to previous generations, and will start operations in 2023. 

The A321XLR could help open up underserved routes and increase non-stop flights between continents like Europe and the Americas. 

While part of the A320neo family, there are a few changes made to maximise its travelling distance, which include:

  • The new permanent Rear Centre Tank (RCT) for more fuel volume;
  • Modified landing gear for an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 101 metric tonnes;
  • An optimised wing trailing-edge flap configuration to preserve the same take-off performance and engine thrust requirements as today’s A321neo;
  • In particular, the new optimised RCT holds more fuel than several optional Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs) did previously, while taking up less space in the cargo hold – thus freeing-up underfloor volume for additional cargo and baggage on long-range routes.

So far the Air Lease Corporation has ordered 27 of the A321XLRs, as well as 50 A220s in its intended 100-Airbus aircraft order. 

ALSO WATCH: The entire commercial Airbus fleet flying in formation for 50th celebration

The push for electric

The push for electric planes in a climate-change-focused world was also present at the Air Show. Israeli startup Eviation is exhibiting its all-electric plane - Alice - which will soon start test flights in the US. 

It's a nine-seater plane, and according to The Guardian is aiming to roll out deliveries in 2022. 

Airbus is also investing in the technology, backing the Vahana project which aims to be the first self-piloted electric aircraft and has already completed 50 test flights, reports CNBC

READ: Peek at the future: Electric plane cruises skies over Norway

Europe's next-generation combat jet

Another highlight of the show was the agreement signed between Germany, France and Spain to develop Europe's next-generation combat jet in an effort to develop a more cohesive military for the European Union.

Between the French and German governments, around €4 billion (about R66 billion at R16,62/€) will be invested in the fighter plane, according to Deutsche Welle.

There's also a possibility that hybrid technology will be utilised in the new jet - lower heat output and a quieter engine will make it stealthier on its missions. 

ALSO READ: The future of SA airports? Putting the passenger in charge of (almost) everything except piloting the plane

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