Following the raising of the country’s Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level from Yellow to Orange on Friday (7 February) due to the escalating coronavirus outbreak, more exhibitors have pulled out of the Singapore Airshow 2020, said organisers Experia Events.
Previously, about 16 companies had pulled out of the airshow last week. Now, that number has jumped to over 70 companies. Right now, that’s about 8% of total participating firms which have withdrawn from exhibiting at the biennial event, including all 12 China companies that were originally slated to appear. This is due to the travel restrictions and tightening of company policies on non-essential staff travel amidst this outbreak.
Some companies that have pulled out include defence firms Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Co, plane maker De Havilland, Bombardier, Gulfstream, Textron Aviation, Honeywell Aerospace, Viking Air and CAE Inc. Before this, the South Korean air force’s aerobatics teams also pulled out due to the outbreak.
The United States Pentagon has also decreased the size of its delegation. This includes the non-attendance of Undersecretary of Defence Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s chief weapon’s buyer and lead representative to the event, who will not be attending “due to extenuating circumstances”. However, it was reported that other Pentagon leaders including uniformed military officials plan to attend.
However, on Tuesday (7 February), China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ba Yi aerobatics team were approved for participation in the airshow by Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) following “careful consideration and medical assessment”.
Tickets to the event, which starts on tomorrow (11 February) and runs till Sunday (16 February) will also be limited to less than half of the previous editions due to worsening conditions in Singapore, said Experia events.
When asked if the Singapore Airshow will be cancelled should the DORSCON level be raised to red, the highest assessment in the framework indicating an out-of-control outbreak, managing director of Experia Events Mr Leck Chet Lam said that the decision will be based on policies and measures implemented by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Even with the withdrawal of many firms, Mr Leck said there is still a “strong presence” at the show, with over 930 companies still to attend. Organisers also expect some 45,000 trade attendees from 140 countries. This is lower than its estimate of 55,000 attendees from 150 countries back in December.
In 2018, there were about 54,000 attendees at the airshow on top of about 80,000 public visitors over the two days. Mr Leck added that there would be fewer aircraft on static display compared to the previous event, but about 40 to 45 are still expected.
The Singapore Airshow is billed as one of Singapore’s biggest events, generating more than S$343 million in spending according to a survey by Kadence International.
ST Engineering, one of the airshows biggest exhibitors
Firms that are still slated to participate despite the escalating virus situation include ATR, Airbus, Boeing, Israel Aerospace Industries, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Singapore’s own ST Engineering.
ST Engineering is expected to showcase its design for long-haul economy class seats and the world’s first expandable lavatory and more at the airshow this week, reported Business Times Singapore.
As one of the largest exhibitors at the event, ST will also showcase other solutions including models for engine nacelles which it has been producing since 2019 and automated solutions for airports. Additionally, ST is showcasing its Airport Operations centre System and Airport Analytics solutions that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The firm is also slated to exhibit its smart city cluster featuring a CitySense suite of smart mobility, security and environment solutions which uses artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, robotics and digital connectivity.
The highlights of ST’s defence cluster will also be showcased. These are the Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV), various weapon systems and the MAK One Synthetic Training Environment (STE).