Acknowledging the challenges Singapore Airshow 2020 faces in light of the coronavirus outbreak, organizers prepared for the opening on Tuesday with about 70 fewer exhibitors, significantly scaled-down plans for availability to the public days, and a number of health precautions in place. But even so, show organizer Experia Events still anticipates the event to draw more than 930 participating exhibitors from more than 45 countries and as many as 45,000 trade visitors.
Underscoring the importance of the airshow to the region, Leck Chet Lam, managing director of Experia Events, said the decision to move forward was taken in concert with “very close guidance” of top health officials as Singapore remains at an elevated Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) Orange level.
Leck Chet Lam, managing director of Experia Events.
“We see it very important that…we make this platform still available for the business community. The situation is trying but we need to balance. Life must go on,” Leck said. “We see participants, we see exhibitors, [and] we see trade visitors coming on their own accord. That’s how we see [the airshow’s] value.”
At the same time, Leck acknowledged the responsibility to ensure precautions are taken, including enhanced cleaning and refuse management, plans for hand sanitizers for attendees, deployment of a team of doctors and medics to attend to visitors who are feeling unwell, and mandatory temperature screenings at access. In addition, seat tagging is occurring at seated events, and organizers are encouraging attendees to avoid contact, including handshakes. Leck emphasized instead the use of waves or bows.
As far as withdrawals, leading up to the show, Leck said the number represented fewer than 8 percent of the total pool. This included, however, key exhibitors such as Lockheed Martin, Textron Aviation, Gulfstream, Bombardier, Honeywell, and Collins Aerospace. As a result, as many as 10-15 aircraft that were to have been on public display will no longer be at static.
In addition, the entire Chinese exhibitor contingent—representing as many as a dozen companies—will be absent. However, the Chinese flight display team, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ba Yi, are among the five that are in this year’s lineup.
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Leck addressed questions regarding the appearance of Ba Yi, in light of the absence of other Chinese exhibitors and the general ban on arrivals from China.
This participation was discussed among government and health officials, he said, and the decision was made to continue with the flight demonstrations. Leck stressed the extraordinary measures that the team had already been taking before they flew to Singapore, including regular health screening. “They are already well prepared…and have taken all necessary precautionary measures in line with the guidelines we have,” he said.
Public days are still planned for February 15-16, but Leck said organizers were discussing scaling back ticket availability, by as much as less than half during those days.
Overall the attendance and exhibitors are expected to be down from the 2018 show but had tracked similarly to the previous show before the novel coronavirus outbreak. While acknowledging the absence of companies that had planned to attend, several major companies are remaining.
The Aviation Leadership Summit that was to have occurred on the eve of the show was canceled, but business forums planned for February 12 on MRO in a digital world and for February 13 on urban air mobility are still set to take place.
Source - AINOnline