Hardly a month after Singapore's Asian Aerospace exhibition, Tokyo Aerospace stages a comeback to the crowded Asia-Pacific trade show scene

Andrzej Jeziorski/TOKYO

After a five-year hiatus, the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies (SJAC) is bringing back the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition, to be held for the first time at the Tokyo International Exhibition Centre.

The organisers say that Tokyo Aerospace 2000 (TA2000) will "open the door to aerospace businesses in the coming century", although some major manufacturers remain sceptical. The timing of the exhibition - barely a month after the well-attended Asian Aerospace show in Singapore - has dampened its impact, say industry observers. The Asia-Pacific region has more trade shows than are necessary, some believe.

One notable absentee from the Tokyo exhibitor list is BAE Systems, with officials saying that the show's timing influenced its decision not to attend. In any case, the company's large commercial aircraft interests will be represented by Airbus Industrie's presence.

The show's history dates back to 1966, when the first Tokyo Aerospace was held at a Japanese Air Self-Defence Force base at Iruma. The first seven shows were primarily flying displays with static parks, but the style of the event changed radically in 1991, when it moved to the Nippon Convention Centre and became an indoor exhibition.

The number of attendees dropped dramatically, from 430,000 to 80,000, but the show became more industry-focused. The next show, in 1995, drew 84,000 people - of which the SJAC claims that 61,000 were trade visitors - with 283 exhibitors from 24 countries.

This year's show has drawn 286 exhibitors, according to the early March list, and the SJAC claims that it will be "the most business-oriented aerospace exhibition held thus far in Japan".

The show is not likely to yield many surprises or major announcements, coming as it does so soon after Asian Aerospace.

A further factor is that the market is not at its most dynamic, with Japan's three major airlines awaiting deliveries deferred during the Asian economic slump.


It is certain that Airbus will continue to promote its 550-plus seat A3XX, for which Japanese carriers - which operate some of the world's highest-density routes in their domestic networks, using modified Boeing 747-400s - are seen as likely customers, as well as its new A340-500/600. Boeing is likely to highlight the newly launched (but still customerless) 777-200LR/300ER ultra-long haul aircraft. Japan Airlines has been named as a potential customer.


Japanese defence acquisition programmes have been remarkably little affected by Asia's economic traumas, in part because of regional political fears focusing on North Korea and China. Budgets remain tight, however, and US manufacturers continue to dominate Japanese defence procurements, usually in programmes involving local licensed production.

TA2000 will be accompanied by seminars and symposia, which will include a session on tiltrotor technology organised by the Japan Aeronautical Engineers Association, and one on vertical-flight technology organised by the American Helicopter Society. Airbus will also hold a one-day industrial and technological workshop.

But, with aerospace firms frustrated at being obliged to spend large sums of money to exhibit at increasing numbers of commercially questionable trade shows, it remains to be seen whether TA2000, and the Tokyo Aerospace concept itself, can prove to be anything more than a periodical boost to the ego of Japanese industry.

Source: Flight International