Slimmed-Down Singapore Airshow To Open Amid Omicron Surge
SINGAPORE—The 2022 Singapore Airshow is opening Feb. 15 in a much smaller format than in the past and with severe health protection measures in place, but officials continue to stress how committed Singapore remains to supporting the aerospace industry and how convinced it is of the sector’s ultimate recovery.
Show organizers said Feb. 13 they expect around 13,000 trade visitors and close to 600 exhibitors. Two years ago at the last major air show prior to the global proliferation of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Singapore saw around 30,000 participants and over 900 firms attending. 2020 was already a much smaller event than in 2018, the last edition that was not affected by the crisis.
The 2022 event does not include public show days in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Singapore has seen a sharp rise in new cases amid the latest omicron wave to levels far exceeding previous spikes.
Health measures include PCR tests upon arrival to Singapore, daily tests throughout the week and tight contact tracing. “Attendance will be lower, we all know that,” Leck Chet Lam, Managing Director of show organizer Experia, said.
The show is taking place against the backdrop of continued severe travel restrictions across much of the Asia-Pacific region. Some countries, such as Thailand, Malaysia and Australia, have begun to open up, but others such as Hong Kong are going back to much tighter limitations.
Leck highlighted, however, that the Asia-Pacific region is still considered to be the highest growth region over the next 20 years by OEMs, at a 4.5% annual growth rate. If the predictions become reality, the Asia-Pacific will receive 40% of all commercial aircraft deliveries. He saw reasons for optimism that a recovery is nearing
Many large aerospace firms still have a Singapore show presence, but sent much smaller delegations this year, mostly due to the travel restrictions. Boeing is using the show to present the new 777-9 in Asia for the first time, while Airbus has flown in the competing A350-1000. A Singapore Air Force F-16 and a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B are also participating in the daily flight display.