The Singapore Air Show kicked off today in the city-state, despite growing Coronavirus health concerns sweeping the globe.
The event was opened on 11 February by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat, who was joined by Vincent Chong, Chairman of event organisers Experia Events.
Event organisers believe the trade show – that runs until 14 February – will attract 45,000 attendees from 45 countries. Delegates are expected to represent 930 companies with connections to the aviation industry.
But Day 1 is proving to be a more subdued occasion than in previous years, with concerns about Coronavirus as well as travel restrictions leading to numerous exhibitors pulling out of the event.
This is in stark contrast to pre-Coronavirus expectations. A late-2019 announcement celebrated a high demand for exhibition space, noting 95% of it had been booked out by 19 November.
“The expanding participation of prominent industry players as exhibitors and influential speakers is a testament to the renowned standing of Singapore Airshow as a dynamic world-class platform for countries and companies to build networks and forge strategic partnerships in the aerospace and defence ecosystem,” said Leck Chet Lam, Managing Director of Experia Events in November 2019.
In recent weeks, a number of key delegates pulled out, with US firms Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Honeywell among the bigger exhibitors who are no longer attending. Additionally, numerous Chinese exhibitors and delegates, subject to global travel bans, are unable to attend.
However, the presence of China’s Ba YI Aerobatics Team turned heads, with the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force aerobatics team being present at the event despite current travel restrictions.
— Steve Trimble (@TheDEWLine) February 9, 2020
Air show organisers say only 8% of overall participating companies have withdrawn from the event, with a statement on the air show website adding: “The presence of key industry players including ATR, Airbus, Boeing, Israel Aerospace Industries, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, ST Engineering and Thales underscore the strategic significance of the Singapore Airshow among businesses who are seeking to expand and grow in Asia Pacific.”
The air show is being held at the Changi Exhibition Centre in Singapore, near Changi Airport. This purpose built facility includes a 40,000 square metre exhibition hall, as well as a static display area that covers 100,000 square metres and is celebrated as Singapore’s largest outdoor show area.
Technology is a major focus at this year’s trade event, with Innovation and Next Generation Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) being among the business forums on offer.
Trade programmes focus on connecting delegates with significant players in the global aviation industry. Buyers, VIP delegations and trade missions are among the topics of importance in 2020.
— Paul Lewis (@hitchin1066) February 9, 2020
The public show kicks off on 15 February and runs over the weekend. It will feature flying performances as well as public access to static displays. These include a RSAF A330 MRTT, RSAF F15s, F16Cs and AH-64D’s.
Aerial displays from the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s F15SG as well as the Apache Longbow AH-64D are among the airborne highlights. A U.S. Marine Corps F35-B Joint Strike Fighter performed an impressive hovering demonstration as part of the opening celebrations.
— Defense News (@defense_news) February 10, 2020
Singapore recently raised its Coronavirus alert to Orange – the second highest level of its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON). On Monday, the Singaporean Government confirmed two additional cases of Coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 45.
In order to ensure the health and wellbeing of those attending this year’s event, the Air Show has adopted a ‘no-contact’ policy – which aims to dissuade handshakes and other physical contact in favour of ‘alternative business greetings.’
The event website is embedded with a mandatory health warning that must be acknowledged before access is granted. Additionally, event social media pages are providing advice on best practice methods to reduce the likelihood of any virus transmission.
— Singapore Airshow (@SGAirshow) February 10, 2020
“The safety and well-being of all attendees is our priority, and we remain alert and prepared to implement further enhanced measures as required by the authorities,” said Experia Managing Director Leck Chet Lam.
The World of Aviation has reporters on the ground at the Singapore Air Show and will be bringing you more updates throughout the event. Check https://thewofa.com/ for updates.