The 2014 Singapore Airshow opens at its purpose-built site on Tuesday, with an exhibitor base of more than 1,000 companies from over 50 countries set to show their wares, representing around a 10 percent increase on the last staging of the biennial event in 2012.
The undoubted highlight of the show will be a full international debut for Airbus’s new A350XWB widebody airliner, which will appear in the daily flying display as well as being available for inspection on a static display also featuring almost 60 other aircraft. At last June’s Paris Air Show, the new Airbus made two surprise fly-bys, but this week will mark the first opportunity for most aerospace industry professionals to get a close look at an aircraft that is due to enter service during the fourth quarter of 2014.
More than 70 percent of exhibitors from the 2012 show have returned to Singapore and participation includes 22 separate national groups. From the Asia Pacific region itself, these include China, Indonesia, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
According to Singapore Airshow organizer Experia Events, the event routinely attracts 60 of the world’s top 100 aerospace firms. According to the company’s own polling, the majority of these consider Singapore to be the second-most important air show on the international circuit in terms of how they apportion marketing budgets.
“They tell us that they spend more here and bring their top people,” Experia managing director Jimmy Lau told AIN. “For accessibility, we’re the best. The show is quite compact.”
Nonetheless, Singapore’s air show–first staged here under its original guise as Asian Aerospace back in 1981–faces ever-increasing competition from more country-specific events in key markets such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, India and even Brunei. By Experia’s own count there are now around 16 air shows across Asia. But Lau argued that while aerospace companies may feel drawn to participate in this burgeoning assortment of industry events, they tend to do so on a more limited basis than they do at Singapore. “Companies exhibit there at a divisional level, whereas they come to us at a corporate level,” he said, adding that the Singapore show covers the whole spectrum of aviation, including defense, unlike many other Asian shows.
Another air transport highlight of the 2014 show will be an appearance by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the colors of Qatar Airways. While giving nothing away, Lau predicted that a number of significant new airliner orders would be placed at the show. He played down expectations that the volume of business to be announced in Singapore will match that mega-deals served up by the Dubai Air Show last November.
Singapore’s flying display is always somewhat constrained by the show’s close proximity to the busy hub that is Changi International Airport. But organizers have been able to persuade local aviation authorities to allow them to extend the duration of what is normally an hour-long daily flying display by several minutes for what promises to be a military-driven spectacle.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has re-formed The Black Knights aerobatic team flying six Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters. It will be interesting to compare them with the very talented Black Eagles team of nine Korean Aerospace Industries T-50 jet trainers from the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). And there is more Korean flavor in the third formation team: the Jupiter team from the Indonesian air force flies the KAI KT-1B single-engine turboprop trainer. There will also be a solo performance from a Boeing F/A-18 Hornet of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
“One of the key factors that make Singapore Airshow a must-attend event is the quality of discussions and insights gained at our strategic conferences and business forums,” said Lau. There are four conferences just before the show opens.
The Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit on Monday will discuss the future of commercial aviation, and is expected to attract 300 delegates. The speakers will include the newly-elected president of the council of ICAO, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu; the director general and CEO of IATA, Tony Tyler; Michael Huerta, the US FAA administrator; Siim Kallas, vice-president of the European Commission; and Yap Ong Heng, director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. There will be panels on The Future of Regulation; Growing Global Connectivity; and Carbon Neutral Growth. The former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong is the dinner speaker.
The Asia-Pacific Security Conference on the same day will bring together defense experts, military officials, academics, analysts and industry leaders. The two panels are entitled “Rethinking Sino-American Strategies: Implications for Regional Security” and “Air Power Modernization Trends: The Impact of New Technologies.”
The Singapore Aerospace Technology and Engineering Conference on Monday offers a good opportunity to hear from Singapore’s own defense aerospace technologists and engineers, as well as the German defense ministry, the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Australian defense science organization; Airbus and Boeing.
The Aerospace Technology Leadership Forum is also on Monday, organized by Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Twelve speakers from a variety of international aerospace companies are lined up for the half-day event.
At the show itself, three Business Forums that aim to link exhibitors with buyers are each expected to attract 250 delegates. They cover the China market and U.S. aviation security and supply chain management (Wednesday) and the Asian MRO market (Thursday).
You can get full coverage of the Singapore Airshow from AIN so keep coming back to our show landing page.