Asia's largest airshow starts tomorrow

South Korea's Black Eagles performing at a preview of the Singapore Airshow yesterday. The airshow, which kicks off tomorrow, is expected to draw more than 130,000 visitors.
South Korea's Black Eagles performing at a preview of the Singapore Airshow yesterday. The airshow, which kicks off tomorrow, is expected to draw more than 130,000 visitors.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Over 1,000 firms taking part in trade event; aerobatic display to feature pilots from six countries

Asia's largest airshow kicks off tomorrow, providing a platform to showcase upcoming technology and discuss emerging issues in the world of aviation, such as the regulation of autonomous vehicles and aviation cyber security.

Singapore Airshow 2018 will feature 65 of the top 100 global aerospace companies such as Airbus, Boeing and Rolls-Royce. More than 1,000 companies from 50 countries and regions will be involved in the first four trade days of the defence and aerospace exhibition.

More than 130,000 visitors are expected, most of them on the two days it is open to the public - this Saturday and Sunday.

As always, one of the highlights will be the aerobatic performances, with pilots from six countries - Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the United States - taking part this year. A number of aircraft will be making their debut as static displays.

There will also be an indoor exhibition, spread out over 3,000 sq m, detailing the history of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and showcasing its current capabilities.

The 15-minute aerial display by the RSAF, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will feature 15 manoeuvres, six of which are new.

The line-up of activities was announced by the organiser Experia Events during a media briefing yesterday at Changi Exhibition Centre, where the biennial show is taking place.

Aviation cyber security and autonomous vehicle technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, are two key issues which have emerged in the last two years since the previous airshow, said Experia Events' managing director Leck Chet Lam.

Two new business forums, held in conjunction with the show and involving industry players such as chief executives, senior engineers and research directors, will focus on each of these topics.

"We studied what is happening in the industry and these are the two key ones that we have picked up that we think are going to be starting their own growth cycle," said Mr Leck.

He added that it was important for cyber security to be discussed due to the greater dependence of aircraft on connectivity and integration, and reports of cyber attacks elsewhere.

The newly certified Airbus A350-1000 long-range passenger jet and the latest-generation US Marine Corp's F-35B, which can land like a helicopter, are among the new commercial and military planes that will be on display at Singapore Airshow 2018.

New innovations at the airshow, including the ELTA Emergency Locator Transmitter and Orion-D Man Pack drone detection system, will also be making their global debut.

The pavilion of ST Engineering, the largest exhibitor this year, will feature cutting-edge technology such as the brain-computer-interface drone and a drone network system called DroNet.

In line with the effort to drive change, there will be a new pavilion called What's Next, where budding entrepreneurs with new technologies close to being commercialised can share and pitch their ideas to leading companies.

"The idea is to get all these start-ups to talk about their technologies, not necessarily in aviation itself... but what is applicable and what they are doing, that could be used to apply in the aviation-aerospace industry," said Mr Leck.

In a related development, Singapore signed an open skies agreement with Guyana yesterday, allowing the airlines of both countries to fly any number of services between them as well as beyond to any third country. It was signed by Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng and Guyana's Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Ms Annette Ferguson.

Singapore has concluded air services agreements with more than 140 states and territories, of which over 70 are open skies agreements.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2018, with the headline 'Asia's largest airshow starts tomorrow'. Print Edition | Subscribe