The tenth Asian Aerospace show, between 22 and 27 February, in Singapore, comes at a time of increasing optimism that the region's economies are recovering from the turmoil of recent years. With the economies of Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand looking especially promising, Asia-Pacific airlines are at last looking at serious capacity increases, and stalled defence procurement programmes finally seem set to move ahead.
By early January, Asian Aerospace 2000 (AA 2000) had drawn bookings from nearly 600 exhibitors, reflecting the global industry's confidence in the future of the Asian market and its desire to take advantage of the opportunities it presents.
Late last year, the Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA) formally announced that, after a year's traffic growth in the region, airlines could finally talk confidently of a recovery. This was reflected in new aircraft orders from airlines such as Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines.
According to industry forecasts, Asia-Pacific airlines are due to overtake European carriers in seating capacity this year, and are expected to eclipse North American carrier capacity by 2012. Commercial aircraft manufacturers are sure to use AA 2000 to position themselves to capitalise on this forecast growth. Airbus Industrie is especially keen to muster support for the high-capacity A3XX because it believes the Asia-Pacific region will account for over half the global demand for a large airliners.
Such optimism is also reflected by regional aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace, which is one of the show's sponsors. "It is clear to everyone that the worst is long over and the [Asia-Pacific] region is starting to motor again," says Bombardier, adding that AA 2000 will help stimulate the aerospace industry in the region.
Bombardier says the Asian market for business aircraft will be the strongest in the world over the next decade, during which it forecasts sales growth of up to 20% a year. The company has 138 of its aircraft operating in the region, and has industrial partnerships with Taiwan's Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on the Continental super mid-size business jet programme.
Defence manufacturers will be keeping an eye on requirements for fourth generation fighters in countries such as South Korea and Singapore, as well as the potential for upgrades of older types. Singapore's own aerospace industry will use the show to promote itself, with Singapore Technologies Aerospace (STAero) for the first time marketing its upgrade capabilities for the Lockheed Martin F-16. STAero will hope to take advantage of the presence of senior international air force representatives to win new customers.
Industrial restructuring in the region will also be a focus of attention at AA 2000, with Korea Aerospace Industries close to choosing a foreign investment partner, and AIDC still hoping to do the same.
This year's key conferences co-inciding with AA 2000 begin on 21 February with the Millennium Air Power Conference, organised by Singapore's air force and expected to draw air force chiefs and senior military and industrial delegations from around the world. At the same time, the Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers has arranged a three-day maintenance and engineering conference, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation will hold its 36th special conference of directors-general of civil aviation from 23 February, focusing on satellite navigation and air safety.
Although the flying display at the show is limited to 90 min because of airspace restrictions, there will be appearances by European, Russian and US aircraft, with an emphasis on military types. Highlights will include a fly-by by a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber on 22 February, and daily displays by the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes, Patrouille de France and Republic of Singapore Air Force Black Knights display teams.
There will be a flying display each day, 13:30-15:00, except on 22 February when the show time is 12:30-14:00.
Aerospace Industry Awards
Flight International will host the seventh annual Aerospace Industry Awards presentation at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the evening of Wednesday, 23 February. The awards recognise achievement across the aerospace and aviation industries. A report on the awards ceremony, including a list of winners, will be published in both Flight International and Flight Daily News.
Flight International, the official magazine for Asian Aerospace 2000, will provide coverage of the show, starting with a comprehensive guide in the Show Special issue (15-21 February). First news will be published in the 22 February issue, and a full show report in the 29 February-6 March edition.
Flight Daily News
Flight International will also produce four consecutive issues of its Show Daily News, beginning on 22 February.
Produced by Air Transport Intelligence, asianaerospace.com, the official online information service of Asian Aerospace 2000, will provide up-to-date visitor and exhibition information at www.asianaerospace.com.
A list of exhibitors is available on the Asian Aerospace website.
Source: Flight International