“When the economy gets tough, people do come out and network, see for themselves and build alliances quickly as they can,” Singapore Airshow & Events (SAe) managing director Jimmy Lau said at the organizer’s opening press briefing Sunday. “And this has been the trend we’ve seen in most of the shows, especially in the Asia Pacific.”
Lau said Singapore is one of the top three aviation events in the world and the largest in Asia, and despite the downturn, continues to show resilience. “This year we have 800 companies from over 40 countries with us, and I’m also pleased to note that we have 62 of the world’s top 100 global aerospace companies with us,” he continued, “and this is up from the 59 we had at the inaugural show.”
But Lau said the benchmark for him is the returning rate of exhibitors, “and we have a very healthy rate of 85 percent of those who were with us in ’08 are back here with us again.”
Despite the downturn, Singapore Airshow is seeing the participation of more than 250 delegations from close to 80 countries or regions, also surpassing that of the first show. The event also achieved another key milestone, having strong pre-registered attendance numbers of more than 12,000.
This year, more than 30 airline CEOs will also be in town during show time, compared to about 20 in 2008. There also is an increase in the number of country/group pavilions from 18 to 22, with New Zealand, Switzerland, Romania and Russia being the latest additions.
The show covers 40,000 sq m of indoor exhibition space and 100,000 sq m of outdoor space. According to Lau, that is down just 600 sq m from two years ago. “When you consider what we went through in the past year, I think we did pretty well,” he commented.
“We are extremely delighted with the positive response we have received so far, even before the start of our show,” he said. “This is definitely a good indication of the increasing confidence of major players as the industry slowly emerges from the recent downturn. Being the first major airshow taking place at the beginning of the year, it will enable the entire industry to feel the pulse and set the tone for what we can expect for the year ahead.”
New initiatives for the 2010 show include business forums focusing on market opportunities in China, India and the Middle East. The event also features a new Green Pavilion covering environmental aspects of the aviation industry.
The Singapore Airshow is the cornerstone of Singapore’s aviation industry and plays an important role toward its aspiration as an aviation hub, said Sia Kheng Yok, director of transport engineering for the Singapore Economic Development Board. “As Asia’s most important aviation event, Singapore Airshow provides an excellent platform for participants to reach out to their target audience, be it exploring commercial opportunities, forging partnerships or making announcements for maximum impact,” he said. While Singapore’s total land mass is only 700 square miles, it devotes 26 square miles to aerospace endeavors.