Singapore Airshow Preview 2014

 - January 1, 2014, 3:00 AM

Next month’s Singapore Airshow, to be held from February 11 to 16 at the Changi Exhibition Center, adjacent to Singapore’s Changi International Airport, promises to remain the main aerospace trade event in Asia this year. New this year will be an Aviation Training Zone, while the U.S. will be the “first ever Feature Country,” according to organizers.

With the region so full of potential growth–most notably China, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian nations, as well as India–exhibitors from the Americas and Europe will be eager to develop relationships and sign deals.

The last show, held in February 2012, saw 900 exhibitors from 50 countries, including 60 of the world’s top 100 aerospace companies. There were also 22 national or group pavilions. The event attracted almost 45,000 visitors from 134 countries during the four trade days (the turnstiles clicked 135,000 times over the whole six days), and there were 274 delegations from 70 countries. As the show closed, organizers claimed that some $31 billion (U.S.) worth of deals had been announced at the event–three times the sum for the 2010 event.

Exhibitors and visitors to the 2012 event consisted of “a comprehensive cross-section of the aerospace industry, with strong representation from [MRO], defense and land equipment systems and avionics and unmanned technology companies, as well as airlines, civil aviation bodies, government and military officials,” according to an analysis by the organizers. The highest representation among exhibitors was from aircraft and parts manufacturers (at 50 percent) while 26 percent of trade visitors hailed from the MRO sector, said the report.

According to the organizer’s research, 54 percent of exhibitors expected to finalize a sale with a new customer thanks to the event, and 36 percent of trade visitors anticipated forming a strategic partnership over the following 12 months thanks to the event. Lim Kok Kiang, executive director for transport engineering for the Singapore Economic Development Board, said, “We are heartened by the success the Singapore Airshow continues to enjoy, as seen by strong industry participation…as demand for air travel continues to drive the growth of the Asia-Pacific aerospace industry, companies looking to better serve the needs of their regional clients can tap Singapore’s central location, business-friendly environment and highly skilled workforce to orchestrate their expansion in the region.”

Companies that are doing this and who announced progress during the 2012 event include those that have established a presence at the fast-growing Seletar business park, on a former air force base in the north of the Singapore island. This includes UK engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce, which at the 2012 show said it would establish a Trent final assembly line there, and Hawker Pacific, which opened a maintenance facility there.

By June last year, some 80 percent of exhibitors had already signed up to take part in this year’s event, according to Jimmy Lau, managing director of organizer Experia Events. He told AIN at the time, “The robust networking and business opportunities that the Singapore Airshow provides for the Asia-Pacific region and beyond make it a critical part of the ecosystem of Singapore’s aviation and aerospace industry, contributing to the long-term sustainability of the industry and opening doors to key markets for local and global companies alike.”

Business aviation will play a larger role at this year’s event than ever before, Lau told AIN during LABACE in São Paulo in August last year, although he said it is “a multi-faceted event covering military, commercial and business aviation.”

“The wider platform has been working well for the business aviation industry, which thrives on the larger attendance at the show. The Singapore Airshow adds further value to their participation by helping to facilitate customer demonstration flights during and after the show. We also have specific programs to attract potential business jet owners to attending our airshow.”

U.S. First “Feature Country”

The Singapore Airshow 2014 “will see the largest U.S. presence yet,” according to Singapore Airshow organizer Experia events. More than 150 U.S. companies, 70 of them in the U.S. pavilion, along with a large slate of U.S. government and private-sector visitors and VIP guests, are scheduled to appear at the show. The U.S. Pavilion will be the event’s largest country pavilion as well, “forming about a third of the total number of exhibitors.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense are working hard to highlight the country’s expanded presence at the show, said Experia, with a new business forum involving the American exhibitors. “The two departments will capitalize on Singapore’s standing as Asia’s aviation hub to promote its aerospace and defense capabilities to generate sales leads in the Asia-Pacific region,” the organizers continued.