Singapore Airshow Preview

 - December 28, 2009, 7:07 AM

The 2010 Singapore Airshow is set to be a sell-out by the time it opens its doors for this year’s February 2 to 7 event. As of press time, just over 95 percent of the 430,000 sq ft of exhibition space had been sold, with some room still available for small companies.

In total more than 800 companies are booked to exhibit, including 62 of the top 100 global aerospace companies such as BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce and Heico. The Singapore show, held at the new purpose-built site that opened in February 2008 for the event’s first staging in its current form, has also attracted several first-time exhibitors, including Germany’s Liebherr Aerospace, B/E Aerospace of the U.S. and Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft (touting its new Mitsubishi Regional Jet).

Business aviation will have a substantial profile in Singapore, with leading manufacturers present including Dassault Falcon, Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft (through its regional sales representative Hawker Pacific), Piaggio (through its shareholder Mubadala), Bombardier, Cessna, Embraer and Pilatus. Also exhibiting are service providers such as Honeywell and Lufthansa Technik.

The opening of two major casino resorts in Singapore this year is expected to drive some new business-aircraft sales. The casino industry in Macao has previously been a driver for aircraft purchases, with owners keen to be able to fly in high-rolling clients to these facilities.

“The inaugural show in 2008 was a great success,” said Singapore Airshow and Events managing director Jimmy Lau. More than 43,000 trade visitors attended it from 112 countries, including 240 delegations from 61 countries.

“Despite the unprecedented economic slowdown, the Singapore Airshow has proved to be one of the most anticipated international aviation shows and is a must-attend event in the industry’s global calendar,” said Lau. “With more than 85 percent of the 2008 exhibitors returning for our 2010 show, many of whom are coming back in a bigger way, we are heartened by the vote of confidence leading industry players have in our show.”

According to Lau, this year’s Singapore show is set to mark a turning point in the fortunes of the air transport sector. “By the time the show opens the industry sentiment will be better because there are signs that the recession is ending,” he told AIN.

Lau predicted that visitor numbers will continue to be strong despite the contraction in the aerospace and air transport sectors since the 2008 show. He added that while some exhibitors had initially indicated they would be downsizing their presence at the show, more recently they have signaled an intent to get back up closer to full strength.

The military sector is set to be especially strong for this year’s Singapore show. Governments throughout the Asia-Pacific region are increasing their defense capabilities as they seek to be more self-reliant in responding to natural disasters, such as tsunamis. In fact, 95 percent of all sponsorship for the show has come from defense companies this year.

There will be 18 national pavilions at the 2010 show, two more than in 2008, with the addition of New Zealand, Romania, Russia and Switzerland. Meanwhile, the Singapore Pavilion will be twice as large as before with the addition of significant numbers of small- and medium-size precision engineering firms. There will also be a new Green Pavilion for firms to showcase environmentally friendly technology and services.

Another new feature of the Singapore Airshow will be business forums in which buyers will brief prospective sellers about the requirements and characteristics of markets such as India, China and the Middle East. These will last two-and-a-half hours each and will be held at the main show site.

The show will also feature its existing Hosted Buyer program, which aims to bring exhibitors into direct contact with procurement decision makers from airlines, airports, maintenance organizations and manufacturers. This is organized jointly by International Enterprise Singapore and the Association of Aerospace Industries Singapore.

The show is expected to receive official delegations from more than 20 countries, consisting of top-level airline managers and defense chiefs. All exhibitors can request visits by these delegations ahead of the show.

Also associated with the airshow will be events such as the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit (Saals) and the Asia Pacific Security Conference. Saals is backed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the Ministry of Transport and the International Air Transport Association and this year will have the theme “Battling the Crisis, Shaping the Future.”

New for Singapore 2010 is an event called New Challenges in Aerospace Technology and Maintenance Conference. This is organized jointly by the Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers and the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

The most significant logistical change for this year’s Singapore show is the decision to include the chalet line in the central secure zone of the show site. This will overcome the delays that were experienced in 2008 when visitors moving from chalets to the exhibition area had to get in line for security checks. Organizers have also introduced a new bypass route for cars driving to the chalet line so that they will not be held up when aircraft are being towed in and out of the static display.

In a bid to ease financial pressures on exhibitors, Singapore show organizers have pressed the country’s hotels to reduce their rates to no higher than 2008 levels. They have also appointed a second official handling agent for the event in the hope that competition will bring down costs.

The final list of aircraft to be displayed is expected to be posted early this month, with highlights likely to include Airbus’s new A330 freighter. More information is available from www.singapore    

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