In just over three months, on February 19, the renamed Singapore Airshow will open at a brand new purpose-built site, with a new dress code for professional visitors and a new organization behind the scenes.
Work started at the beginning of 2006 on the new 60-acre site and its 430,000-square-foot air-conditioned exhibit hall at Changi North. The 200 chalets overlook the 970,000-square foot static park, with roof gardens to help make the most of the equatorial ambience. And–strictly in the interests of business, naturally—the organizers encourage men to abandon their formal neckwear in favor of open-neck shirts.
Singapore Airshow & Events, a joint venture between the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the republic’s Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA), stepped in after Reed Exhibitions was unable to agree to terms for continuing the established Asian Aerospace series in Singapore and moved that event to Hong Kong.
Managing director Jimmy Lau, who used to run the show for Reed and is a co-founder of Singapore’s first low cost airline, Valuair, said the organizers hope to attract 35,000 trade visitors and around 800 government-hosted civil and military delegations. There should be plenty to occupy them; in addition to the show itself, four high-level conferences at downtown venues will address today’s main aerospace and defense issues.
Among them is the world’s first aviation leadership summit. Organized in conjunction with the International Air Transport Association, it will bring together regional and European transport ministers, airline chiefs and regulators. “It will allow the airline chiefs to air operational problems to the politicians who make the policies and the regulators who implement them,” Lau said.
At the Global Air Power conference air chiefs and defense industry leaders from around the world will gather to address common military issues. The first International Defence Procurement conference will provide a forum for customers, agencies and suppliers to share their perspectives of defense procurement requirements, systems and approaches. And the C4I Asia conference, the fourth in a series that kicked off in 2002, will highlight the crucial role battlespace digitization plays in affecting force transformation.
Another new event focusing on space will happen during the show itself. The Global Space & Technology Convention aims to bring together commercial players, government bodies and research institutes to encourage the development of space.
The organizers also have taken steps to avoid the perennial air show banes of long registration queues, delays in security clearance, traffic jams and tired feet.
Technology, they promise, will speed registration and security checks. A new six-lane road will provide access to the site and its 2,000-lot car park, and special buggies should reduce the amount of walking involved.
A taxiway will provide direct access for aircraft headed for flight displays, and the organizers have set aside acreage for land defense equipment, plus an open picnic area for spectators. By 2010, Lau said, the site will accommodate floating exhibits as well.