Singapore Airshow's aerobatic display to start earlier

A static display of private aircraft at the Changi Exhibition Centre ahead of the Singapore Airshow, which opens tomorrow. About 90 aircraft, including the Airbus 350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, will be on display.
A static display of private aircraft at the Changi Exhibition Centre ahead of the Singapore Airshow, which opens tomorrow. About 90 aircraft, including the Airbus 350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, will be on display.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

This is to avoid disrupting peak-hour commercial flights at Changi Airport

Trade and public visitors to the Singapore Airshow which opens tomorrow will have to make an earlier start to enjoy the thrills and spills of the aerobatic flying displays.

Except on opening day, the much-anticipated flying segment will kick off at 10.25am daily, about half an hour earlier than the usual start time at previous shows.

The earlier start is to avoid Changi's peak hours so that fewer commercial flights are delayed, said Mr Jimmy Lau, managing director of event organiser Experia Events.

The airspace is closed during the segment, which means planes cannot land or take off at Changi Airport.

Speaking to reporters at a pre-airshow media briefing yesterday, he said: "We still get the time we want, but in future, we may not have the luxury of having a full straight 65 minutes.

"We may have to break up the flying segment to cater for aircraft movements in between."

Apart from adjusting the flight timings, the future expansion of Changi Airport may also pose challenges, Mr Lau said.

By the middle of the next decade, Changi will open Terminal 5 - a mega passenger facility to be built at Changi East.

The site, currently separated from the existing airport by Changi Coast Road, is along the same stretch where Changi Exhibition Centre is located.

There is one main road, Aviation Park Road, that leads to the site.

Mr Lau said: "When construction for the new terminal starts, the greater impact for us on the ground will be accessibility if some parts of the road are used for the airport development."

For now, his team is focused on putting on the biggest Singapore Airshow since the biennial event was launched in 2008.

This year, more than 1,000 companies from about 47 countries - 10 per cent more than the number that attended the 2012 show - are taking part.

About 90 aircraft, including the Airbus 350, which has not started flying commercially, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be on static display.

At the last show, there were 72 planes on display.

While he does not foresee the Singapore event coming anywhere close to the record US$200 billion (S$254 billion) in aircraft sales that were sealed at the Dubai Airshow last November, Mr Lau stressed that the value of the Singapore show is in its power to attract top delegates. They include key government officials as well as chief executives of airlines and other aerospace firms.

Many will be attending events around the airshow like the Aviation Leadership Summit, which opens today.

Speaking at the opening dinner yesterday, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said that as the aviation industry continues to grow strongly in Asia, there are key challenges to be tackled.

The industry must invest in infrastructure and push new frontiers in technology and automation adoption to manage manpower needs.

Asian governments must also further liberalise their aviation policies.

Mr Goh said: "Governments should look beyond the narrow interests of their national carriers... They should consider the benefits of increased air connectivity to their people and wider economy, and for those aspiring to be air hubs, a liberal policy is absolutely essential."

karam@sph.com.sg

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