Downturn will not dash Singapore show sellout

 - June 15, 2009, 7:47 AM

Organizers of next year’s Singapore Airshow are here in Paris (Chalet D226) pressing for a sell out for the Feb. 2-7, 2010 event. So far, 90 percent of its exhibit space has been sold. They anticipate more than 700 exhibitors will attend, including 60 of the world’s top 100 aerospace firms.

Managing director Jimmy Lau told AIN that a few companies did cancel their participation in the wake of the serious economic downturn now gripping the industry. But he added that these gaps have since been filled.

With Asia’s air transport growth now slowing, the military sector is expected to have a higher profile in Singapore. According to Lau, countries in the Asia/Pacific rim are expected to spend around $250 billion on defense programs this year and he sees no sign of this diminishing next year in view of rising regional tensions, such as North Korea’s alleged development of nuclear weapons and recent rocket tests. He said that additional demand for military equipment is being driven by Asian governments seeking to increase their capability to deal with humanitarian disasters, such as the earthquake in China and tsunamis.

Acknowledging the financial pressures confronting its exhibitors, the Singapore Airshow is trying to bring the costs of participation down by offering better deals for services such as catering, badges and car parking. They will also be making changes to resolve issues at the new show site, such as traffic congestion while aircraft are being taxied.

At the same time, organizers are also aiming to provide more added value by launching a series of business forums that will provide practical information and strategic guidance on doing business in India, China, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The new forums will be held at the show venue itself, with presentations given by buyers from the countries concerned and will not include company sales pitches. Consultants Frost & Sullivan will provide a strategic overview of each market.

Next month, Lau and his team will start issuing invitations to high-level government officials from the region. This campaign is starting two months earlier than normal in the hope of drawing increased numbers of official delegations.

Future plans at the sea-front site include the possible addition of a third, 54,000-sq-ft exhibition hall. Organizers may also build a 500-seat auditorium within one of the existing exhibition halls. The site currently features 430,000 sq ft of indoor exhibit space and just over one million square feet of outdoor display area.

New exhibitors include Liebherr Aerospace and B/E Aerospace. They will join major groups such as   Boeing, BAE Systems, Honeywell and Rolls-Royce. Around 80 percent of exhibitors from the 2008 Singapore show plan to return to the 2010 event.