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Singapore Airshow organizers expect sharp fall in visitor numbers

Singapore Airshow organizers expect sharp fall in visitor numbers

SINGAPORE – A sharp fall in trade visitors is expected at the Singapore Airshow this week compared to the last edition two years ago as COVID-19 continues to hit the industry, the organiser of Asia’s biggest aerospace industry gathering said on Sunday.

More than 13,000 trade visitors are expected at the biennial show from Tuesday to Friday, Experia Events Managing Director Leck Chet Lam told reporters, down from nearly 30,000 in 2020 and around 54,000 in 2018. There will be no public days this time.

The event has bookended the pandemic, with the 2020 edition disrupted by the virus emerging from China and the latest show coming as the industry attempts to plot a way out of what became its biggest and most costly crisis.

Leck said more than 70% of the world’s top 20 aerospace companies would be at this year’s show, including industry giants Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, as the industry tries to navigate out of the pandemic.

International passenger numbers in Asia are rising, though from a very low base, as countries relax pandemic-related border restrictions. Military demand is also picking up as regional economies recover from pandemic-induced slumps and countries look to bolster their capabilities.

Singapore Economic Development Board Vice President Lim Tse Yong said that major aerospace companies planned to create more than 1,000 jobs in the country over the next two years as the market rebounds.

“Some of these jobs will be to replace existing jobs but a number of these jobs are also new ones,” he said, referring to hires in advanced manufacturing, robotics and data analytics.

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Ahead of the show, Singapore Technologies Engineering, Japan’s Sumitomo Corp and Skyports said on Sunday they had formed a consortium to provide unmanned aircraft for ship-to-shore parcel delivery in Singapore.

During a nine-month pilot programme, the consortium will engage key customers for drone deliveries, with the goal of establishing a delivery network capable of carrying parcel payloads of up to 7 kgs (15 pounds). 

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the static display of aircrafts during a media preview of the Singapore Airshow in Singapore February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo