How robust is Asia’s air transport market, given recent evidence of softening demand and financial strain in countries such as India and Malaysia? This week’s Singapore Airshow might provide some answers, with a number of new orders widely anticipated, including a likely deal for regional airliners from Indonesia carrier Garuda. Already confirmed is the fact that the 2012 Singapore show (February 14-19) will be the largest yet, with the amount of covered exhibit space being 25 percent larger than for the previous 2010 event at 50,000 sq m (12.5 acres). The 100,000 sq m (25 acres) of static display is packed with more than 65 aircraft compared with just 50 in 2010. Making a big impression on its Singapore debut will be Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which is in town as part of an extended world tour. Russia’s Irkut has brought a full-size cabin mock-up of its in-development MC-21 narrowbody.
“Asia is still the [air transport] hotspot,” said Jimmy Lau, managing director of Singapore Airshow organizing company Experia Events. “The feedback is that even if China slows down to one digit [economic growth] then it is still huge growth in terms of passenger numbers.”
The Singapore show now includes separate pavilions for 22 nations or groups, including, for the first time, China and Ukraine. China has doubled its exhibit space this year to 700 sq m, but what many visitors will want to know is the extent of reported delays to both of its main new airliner programs—Comac’s C919 and Avic ARJ-21. The Chinese companies have been far from candid on these issues in the past.
“China has a statement to make [at the airshow]. They want to demonstrate that they are doing well in R&D and making headway with their own technology,” commented Lau.
“The response to this year’s show has been positive and we are delighted that the Singapore Airshow continues to be the event of choice for major players from across the aviation spectrum to network, exchange ideas and explore business opportunities,” said Lau. “Despite current economic uncertainties, we will be putting on our biggest show yet. This is a promising sign of things to come for the industry and especially for the Asia-Pacific region,” he continued.
For full news coverage of the Singapore Airshow go to AIN’s special Singapore show landing page.