Singapore Air Show

Singapore Airshow Set To Open Next Week

 - January 31, 2018, 8:55 AM

The 2018 edition of the Singapore Airshow opens February 6, with some new features, and a variety of associated forums and conferences. Regular visitors will find the same layout at the show site. But the massive and ongoing Changi East airport development has dramatically changed the surroundings, including the approach road that visitors must take to reach the Changi Exhibition Centre (CEC).

“We have just over 1,000 exhibitors, and we expect over 250 official delegations,” said Leck Chet Lam, managing director of Experia, the company that organizes the show. He told AIN that all of the top 70 global aerospace companies (as identified by Price Waterhouse) will be there. This is a unique selling point, helping to keep the Singapore Airshow relevant, when there are now many competing aerospace and defense events in the region.

“Our exhibitors say that we deliver value,” Leck said. “It’s about who you meet. It’s not just about setting up a booth, and waiting to see who turns up.” Some 50,000 visitors are expected over the four trade days, Tuesday through Friday, Feburary 6 through 9. The show is open to the public on the weekend.

Ahead of the main show at the CEC, the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit (SAALS) will discuss the issues facing commercial aviation. The president of ICAO and the director-general of IATA are both speaking at this invitation-only event. Meanwhile, the A*STAR Aerospace Technology Leadership Forum will consider R&D. The third major off-site event is the Singapore Aerospace Technology and Engineering Conference (SATEC). This attracts a mainly engineering and defense-oriented crowd, but they will have to skip a day at the show, since SATEC is now on Wednesday, February 7.

“What’s Next?” is a special section of the main hall housing approximately 70 innovative start-up companies from 10 countries. They range from data mining specialists to inventors of novel hardware. Leck says that they have been offered “especially affordable” exhibition space, and he hopes that they will be able to engage with venture capitalists, as well as traditional aerospace industry OEMs that are on the lookout for new technology partnerships.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. The president of Singapore will officially launch the year-long campaign at the Singapore Airshow on Wednesday, February 7, and at the same time unveil a Boeing F-15SG Strike Eagle with special livery. As at previous shows, the RSAF will mount a large static display, and this will be in place ahead of the airshow, since the RSAF is holding a "families day" at the CEC on Saturday, February 3.

Republic of Singapore Air Force flying
The Republic of Singapore Air Force will be flying a unique display of one F-15SG and two F-16Cs. (Photo: Chen Chuanren)

As for flying, the RSAF has developed a novel display that combines an F-15SG with a pair of Lockheed Martin F-16Cs. Another highlight of the flying display will be the Korean air force “Black Eagles” aerobatic team with its eight KAI T-50 jet trainers. The same company’s KT-1 turboprop-trainers will be flown in formation by the Indonesian air force “Jupiter” display team. There will be solo displays by a Thai air force Saab Gripen, a Malaysian air force Sukhoi Su-30, and a USAF Lockheed Martin F-16C.

Getting There—Cars and Planes

Visitors to the show will have a longer drive, and should allow an extra 15 minutes, organizer Experia told AIN. The 2,700-acre Changi East building site has swallowed the old access road that ran parallel to the airport’s Runway 02C/20C. The Tanah Merah Coast Road now extends much farther to the east, passing the Changi naval base before running along the new coastline, and then turning toward the show site.

It will not be possible to access the show via Changi Village and the Aviation Park Road. It has been closed, to allow the static display aircraft to be towed to and from Changi Airport. Previously, they were able to land on the third, 8,000-foot-long Runway 02R/20L that was close to the airshow site, and that also served Changi airbase East, with its squadron of RSAF F-16s.

That squadron has moved out, and the runway is being extended to 13,000 feet to become a third main runway for the airport. But the work is not yet finished. So a new taxiway has been built, leading from existing Runway 02C/20C to Aviation Park Road, which has been modified to allow even large airliners to be towed over to the Changi Exhibition Centre. The Airbus A350-1000 (length 242 feet, wingspan 212 feet) is due at the show, as part of a three-week demonstration tour around the Asia-Pacific region.

The Changi East development will eventually comprise a fifth terminal, an industrial zone for airliner MRO, and 40 km of new taxiways, as well as the extended third runway. It is scheduled to open by September 2020, boosting Singapore Airport’s capacity from 85 million to 135 million passengers per annum.