As the industry gears up for the Singapore air show in February, aerospace executives feel that the Asia-Pacific growth story is intact - albeit with some clear challenges.

“The Asia-Pacific is a hot market,” says Bicky Bhangu, president of Southeast Asia, Pacific & South Korea at Rolls-Royce.

Flight Daily News 2018

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

The Flight Daily News distribution team awaits visitors to the 2018 Singapore air show, the last iteration of the show before Covid-19 emerged in early 2020

“It constitutes a huge among of growth. We’ve got 60% of the globally population here and 70% of global GDP growth over the last ten years happened in the Asia-Pacific.”

Bhangu made the remarks during a media roundtable arranged by show organiser Experia Events. The show, which will run from 20-25 February, will be the first edition in six years that is not impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 event was overshadowed by the emergence of Covid 19 – then called the Wuhan coronavirus – in China. While the 2022 event was well attended, Covid-19 restrictions such as masking wearing, daily testing, and restrictions to group sizes served to tone down the show.

Bhangu adds that Singapore is a major centre for R-R, both for manufacturing engines as well as maintaining engines in service with Asia-Pacific carriers.

Adam Young, Embraer’s vice president of marketing in the region, agrees that Asia has seen “astounding” traffic growth rates over the last decade, with low-cost carriers playing a key role.

“A lot of the growth has been driven by low fares,” says Young. “It has really brought a new traveller into the market.”

Still, he cites headwinds such as higher interest rates, higher labour costs, and higher fuel costs – all of which airlines need to pass onto customers.

Amid these conditions, he repeated Embraer’s mantra that airlines can “optimise” their fleets to improve profitability. By using smaller narrowbodies, such as Embraer’s family of E-Jets, airlines can better match capacity to demand, improve connectivity, and open new routes.

“That will be the engine for sustainable growth going forward here in the region,” says Young.

Experia managing director Leck Chet Lam also spoke on the panel. He says that this year’s show will see the full return of Chinese companies, who were largely absent in 2020 and 2022, and that sustainability will again be a major focus of the event. 

“From an event organiser’s perspective, what we need now is a global platform that offers multi-faceted touchpoints for the various parts of the ecosystem,” says Leck.

“This is what the air show has been doing for its past eight editions, and of course will continue to do for this ninth upcoming edition.”