The relaunched Singapore Airshow will stage its first event at a brand-new venue from February 19 to 24. The show has two clear challenges: to prove that it can stand on its own two feet after breaking away from the Asian Aerospace show, which has moved to Hong Kong; and to demonstrate that the Asian aerospace and defense marketplace is every bit as dynamic as that of the Middle East, which demonstrated its potential at November’s hugely successful Dubai Airshow.
Dubai, which now extends its catchment area into western Asia, threw down the gauntlet in November when it declared itself the world’s third largest airshow and predicted that it would take the number-one slot within two decades. The biennial Middle Eastern show drew more than 45,000 trade visitors (30 percent up on 2005’s numbers) who flocked to see 850 exhibitors from 50 countries and 140 aircraft.
At press time, Singapore 2008 was almost completely sold-out, with more than 500 exhibitors (representing some 800 companies including subsidiaries) from 33 countries. More than 30,000 trade visitors are expected, with another 50,000 public visitors predicted for the event’s final two days.
Bizav Anticipates Asia-Pacific Boom
The industry will inevitably ask whether the presence of two major Asian airshows– Singapore and Asian Aerospace–will dilute the impact of each. The first of the Hong Kong-based Asian Aerospace events, held last September, attracted some 11,000 trade visitors and 500 exhibitors. By contrast, the 2006 Singapore show drew 34,000 trade attendees and 940 exhibitors.
Money is also a key measure of success on the airshow circuit, and the Dubai 2007 event certainly attracted global attention with its $100 billion order book. The 2006 Singapore show logged around $15 billion in announced new business but, almost 24 months on, market conditions in Asia appear somewhat stronger for this year’s edition.
The centerpiece of the new 74-acre show site on the north side of Singapore’s Changi International Airport is an air-conditioned, 430,570-sq-ft exhibition hall. Outside, there is a static display area of nearly one million square feet and space for 100 sea-facing chalets, each with a rooftop garden offering 360-degree views of the daily flying display.
One aspect of the Singapore show that should certainly set it apart from its rivals is the new “smart casual” dress code announced last year. Organizers are seeking to persuade aerospace executives to better adjust to the tropical weather conditions by shedding the suits and ties.
Organizers are committed to reducing the travel delays that typically blight visitors’ productivity at airshows. To that end, access to the show site will be via a new six-lane road. The Singapore show will also use innovations such as radio frequency identification technology to streamline show site access.
The biennial Singapore show is run by Singapore Airshow & Events, the joint venture between the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the country’s Defence Science & Technology Agency, which was formed in 2006 after former organizer Reed Exhibitions opted to take its Asian Aerospace event out of the southeast Asian republic. Unlike the new-look Asian Aerospace show in Hong Kong, the Singapore Airshow features civil and military exhibits and draws as many as 800 official defense delegations from throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The business aviation industry has long anticipated a steep ascent in corporate and private jet orders from an expanding customer base around the Asia-Pacific rim. Recent years have undoubtedly seen new sales achieved in the dominant economies of China and India, as well as in some neighboring countries. However, issues such as limited infrastructure and access restrictions are certainly stunting the potential growth. Nonetheless, manufacturers will be back in force at this year’s Singapore show, which will open a few days after the February 14 Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in Hong Kong.
At press time, no firm information was available about the aircraft expected to be on display in Singapore. However, the business aircraft manufacturers booked to exhibit included Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Falcon, Embraer, Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft (through its regional dealer, Hawker Pacific) and Pilatus.
AgustaWestland, Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter and Sikorsky were among the rotorcraft manufacturers lined up to exhibit at the event. Also on the list are leading powerplant providers Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, Safran and GE Aviation, as are aircraft completions specialists Jet Aviation and Lufthansa Technik.
Asia’s regional airline sector is most definitely in an expansion mode that is benefiting both jet and turboprop manufacturers. Market leaders Avions de Transport Regional, Bombardier and Embraer will all be on show in Singapore. They will face new challengers such as the ARJ 21 twinjet led by China’s AVIC group and Russia’s Superjet program.
More information about the show is available at www.singaporeairshow.com.