Hugh McAtearIn his first interview with Flight Daily News published 14 years ago during Asian Aerospace'84, Lim Chin Beng sent out a warning of slower growth than the meteoric expansion experienced in the preceding years. His statement was a New Year message to the staff of Singapore Airlines, in his capacity as deputy chairman of the Republic's flag carrier. In the intervening years, Lim has left the airline and enjoyed subsequent senior postings as chairman of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board and as Singapore's ambassador to Japan. Now he is back in the business as chairman of Asian Aerospace, and in a repeat interview he looks to what the future holds for the industry and world's third largest aerospace exhibition.


It's not an ideal time to hold a major exhibition in light of the regional financial turmoil, concedes Lim Chin Beng, but it's not as if you can just move such an event on the calendar to a more suitable time.

For this show, the organisers expect 10% fewer visitors than attended the last event, but this will translate into around 25,000; a figure which Lim says is still regarded as healthy.

There is hardly an industry in the region or internationally that remains unaffected by the Asian currency crisis, and Lim says the organisers are happy that many exhibitors have still supported the show as an indication of their long-term confidence in the region, and in the show itself.

The joint-venture partners in Asian Aerospace, Reed Exhibition Companies and Singapore Technologies Aerospace, have signalled their commitment to the event with the recent 20-year deal to organise the show well into the next century.

"There is respective expertise which is complementary. Reed has the exhibition expertise and ST Aerospace has the government and military contacts, both in Singapore and abroad, so it's a good fit."

The inbound chairman pays a tribute to his predecessor, Colonel Quek Poh Huat, for the successful development of Asian Aerospace as the region's premier aerospace showcase.

"As far as the industry is concerned attendance at Asian Aerospace is a must - that is a tribute to all the hard work which has gone into the event."

He reconfirms that the show will move to its new purpose-built site for Asian Aerospace 2002, but says full details of the new complex will not be revealed until later this year.


He confirms that improvements such as vehicle access and layout changes, including moving of the static park closer to the chalet lines to enhance the flow of visitors around the site, are major factors which have been taken into account.

Lim says he looks forward optimistically to the future. Knowing full well the cyclical nature of business from his extensive airline experience, he adds: "Singapore's location and infrastructure has always been a major selling point for the show. We have to make sure we continue to provide the facilities which our customers demand.

"We see a continued trend towards mergers and alliances, and attendance at this event has proven to be a key factor in providing companies with the business contacts they need to make these alliances a reality."

"As far as the industry is concerned attendance at Asian Aerospace is a must," says Lim Chin Beng.

Source: Flight Daily News