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The week long Singapore Airshow 2016 drew to a close on a positive note, with the trade segment inking over 51 deals, and the public day weekend drawing close to 80,000 visitors.

The week long Singapore Airshow 2016 drew to a close on a positive note on 21 February 2016, with the trade segment inking over 51 deals, up from 44 in 2014; and the public day weekend drawing close to 80,000 visitors who were wowed by spectacular aerial performances and static aircraft displays. Bridging Skies summarises the various happenings and key highlights of the Airshow below.

Soaring High 

The trade days of the Airshow, held from 16 to 19 February, saw close to 48,000 visitors, representing a 7% increase in visitorship. The 51 deals signed included 11 deals with a total value of US$12.7 billion, as well as 40 deals with undisclosed values announced by 20 companies. In addition, eight MOU signings were made compared to four in 2014 as industry stakeholders look to build future capabilities.

As the Feature Country for this year, the French pavilion, which comprised almost 60 companies, represented the country’s largest presence at an airshow outside of France. The Feature Country series was first introduced at the Singapore Airshow in 2014 to spotlight on countries which have strong and thriving businesses in the aerospace, defence and aviation sectors. Other countries also put up a strong showing for their respective Airshow Pavilions. The United States of America was represented by over 140 exhibitors, while Indonesia and the Philippines made history by participating as country pavilions for the first time, with the latter commemorating its debut by announcing deals with Airbus, Harris Corporation and Rolls-Royce.

The Airshow made available a wide array of opportunities spanning multiple sectors such as commercial, defence, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), research and development (R&D), and manufacturing. For example, industry heavyweights like GE Aviation announced new investments in new MRO facilities in Singapore, which includes establishing a new advanced technologies centre for R&D on repair applications. Singapore Airlines also appointed key suppliers for its fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, including Thales to provide the in-flight entertainment system and Ka-band connectivity; Moog for maintenance and inventory support of the OEM's flight control products; and with UTC Aerospace Systems to supply asset management and repair services for the A350s.

Crowd-pleasing displays

Over at the public day weekend, held from 20 to 21 Feb, Singaporeans and foreign visitors, young and old, thronged the Changi Exhibition Centre (CEC) to catch a glimpse of their favourite aerial display performances and the latest commercial and military aircraft. A perennial favourite with the public, the carefully planned line-up of aerobatic flying displays was a highlight of the Airshow. The public was treated to a variety of spectacular displays, including the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)’s integrated aerial display team, comprising an F-15SG fighter jet and an AH-64D Apache attack helicopter. They performed 11 exciting manoeuvres, showcasing precision and coordination between two different aircraft types of different manoeuvrability and capabilities. Their mesmerising routine included the Vertical Punch, a new manoeuvre that was performed for the first time. The Black Eagles from the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), known for their jaw-dropping stunts, were back to thrill the crowds with three additional manoeuvres added to their 2014 repertoire. Other adrenaline-fuelled flying displays included the France Air Force’s Dassault Rafale, the U.S. Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster III, F-16C/D Fighting Falcon and B-52 Stratofortress, and the Sukhoi Su-30MKM from the Royal Malaysian Air Force. 

Over at the Static Aircraft Display Area (SADA), visitors were able to get up close and personal with majestic commercial and military aircraft including a RSAF Black Knight F-16C in its familiar red and white paint scheme which incorporates the national symbols of the crescent moon and five stars. Other key highlights included two U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth fighters showcased together at the Singapore Airshow for the first time, and the Airbus A400M – a modern military transport plane using the latest fly-by-wire flight control system – which was also making its debut at the show. Luxury business jets from Bombardier, Embraer and Gulfstream, as well as other new models such as the Airbus H145 and Bell 505 helicopters, also appeared for the first time at the Singapore Airshow.


Promoting aviation to the youths

Being Asia’s largest airshow, the Singapore Airshow provides young aviation enthusiasts an opportunity to immerse themselves in the exciting developments of the aviation industry. In reaching out to the youths, CAAS co-organised the Aerospace Industry Induction Programme (AIIP) with the Association of Aerospace Industries Singapore (AAIS) and Economic Development Board (EDB). The programme offered over 1,400 pre-registered secondary and tertiary students a glimpse of the vibrant and diverse aviation industry that makes Singapore a leading aviation hub of choice. Students gained valuable industry insights by speaking to exhibiting companies and educational institutions during the tour of the Singapore Airshow Aero Campus (SAAC), which showcased education and career opportunities in the aviation industry during the Education Days on 18 and 19 February. As part of the AIIP, students also had the opportunity to explore the static aircraft display area where they viewed the latest commercial and military aircraft and technology as well as the enthralling aerobatic flying displays. They were also brought on a tour of the trade exhibition where Asia’s largest international network of aviation companies convened to showcase their brands to aspiring aviation professionals. 

Additionally, STEM Inc conducted Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) workshops at the SACC where students built rocket launchers and played paper plane games to experience how science is applied in aviation. CAAS also featured the Heart of Aviation Explorer bus at the SAAC to promote aviation and its careers. This modified coach was outfitted with static displays and interactive stations to showcase the multi-faceted Singapore aviation sector and the future developments at Changi Airport and the wider Singapore aviation industry. In total, over 3,000 students, full-time national servicemen and young working adults visited the SAAC.

In its continuous efforts to seed interest and deepen aviation awareness among the young, CAAS also organised the Inspiring Aviators Talk, a dialogue series held twice a year, where prolific aviation professionals are invited to share their personal aviation experiences with students. In this Airshow series, Scoot’s CEO, Mr Campbell Wilson, was invited to share personal anecdotes of his illustrious journey with the airline sector with budding aviation enthusiasts. 

The next run

The next edition of the Singapore Airshow will be held from 6 February to 11 February 2018 at Changi Exhibition Centre, and will focus on emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, and Asia Pacific as a key growth region. Close to 70 per cent of exhibitors have already made reservations to return for the 2018 Airshow.

Reaffirming its commitment to further enhance the Airshow, Mr Leck Chet Lam, Managing Director of Experia Events, said: “We are heartened by the continued support and show of confidence from exhibitors and visitors for the Singapore Airshow as the global platform to tap into emerging opportunities, engage in emerging dialogues, and showcase emerging technologies in the fast-growing Asia Pacific market. We are committed to creating carefully curated programme elements and are looking forward to delivering a 2018 edition that will further contribute to growing industry capabilities.”