A Fully Solar Powered Singapore Airshow

This year’s Singapore Airshow is fully solar powered, underscoring its major theme of innovation and environmental sustainability in the aviation industry. 

When not generating energy for the showground, the 6.3-MWp solar panel array installed on the roof of the main exhibition building by show organizers Experia Events will contribute about 2% of Singapore’s yearly solar power.

“It’s not a huge solar system in the wider scheme of things, but we want to show that meaningful steps can be taken in the aviation industry and that sustainability is here to stay,” Leck Chet Lam, managing director of Experia Events.

With increased scrutiny on the aviation industry’s environmental footprint and sustainability, Boeing will have its 777 ecoDemonstrator aircraft on static display to showcase new technologies that enhance safety and reduce emissions.

Other features at this year’s show include an Innovation Forum, where topics such as urban mobility and electrification of aircraft will be discussed. Participants include, for example, aviation technology accelerators such as EmbraerX and Boeing HorizonX.

The airshow also has a section in the main exhibition hall, called What’s Next, where 60 start-ups and various venture capital firms, accelerators and CEOs of aerospace multinationals will come together to discuss and drive innovation in the industry, says Leck.

This special program includes competitions where start-ups involved in innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned systems will be judged by executives from large aerospace groups such as ST Engineering. The industry’s top technology accelerators – Airbus BizLab, Boeing HorizonX and Singapore Airlines’ KrisLab – will also be there, Leck says.

“We think it is the sustenance of ideas that is most important. The What’s Next start-up launchpad is one way, but we are also big on the Aero Campus, which focuses on the aerospace talent pipeline,” Leck says. Roughly 2,000-2,500 students from Singapore institutes of technical education, polytechnics and universities have been invited to the show. They will be participating in a program of activities where they will get to meet representatives of and learn about career opportunities at companies such as SIA Engineering, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney.

Despite concerns over the coronavirus, which caused some exhibitors to withdraw from this year’s show, Experia Events says most of the major industry players are in attendance.

“Most interesting, I think, is the increased interest from Japan in the show,” says Leck. “This year, enterprises from six Japanese prefectures are exhibiting, up from three at the 2018 airshow. Mitsubishi is back, Kawasaki has increased its footprint, and Subaru is here for the first time.”

Some notable aircraft on static display this year include the HondaJet Elite business jet, the new 19-seat Indonesian Aerospace N-219, and the Embraer E195-E2 regional jet.

Singapore Airshow 2020 also includes some programs pitched at those interested in the space technology industry. For example, the airshow’s Aero Campus is co-presenting the Al Worden Endeavour Space Camp Challenge with Kallman Worldwide, the organizers of the U.S. Pavilion, on Feb. 12. Local students between the ages of 15 and 18 have created video responses to a space exploration challenge. The winning team will receive a sponsored trip to attend the Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

Two business forums are being staged in the main exhibition halls at the show: one focuses on digitalization in MRO, while the other looks at new manufacturing technologies in aerospace, such as 3-D printing.