Singapore Airshow Round-Up

The Singapore Airshow was held between 11-16 February, with the first four days as trade days. This year’s edition made a small record over the last show of $32 billion worth of deals, a little over $31 billion in 2012. Despite the impressive military line up this year, most contracts come from the civil aviation sector, with Airbus taking the lead.

-Aircraft lessor confirmed a purchase of 20 Airbus A380 worth more than $ 8 billion. Airbus has scored another $6.4 billion dollar deal with Vietnam low-cost carrier VietJetAir, for 42 Airbus A320neo, 12 A320ceo and seven A321ceo with purchase rights for 30 more. All in all, the European firm forms about $ 15 billion in deals, almost half of what is transacted in the show.

-Boeing however, only managed to sell 15 units of 737 to Thai low cost carrier Nok air.Other notable deals include India startup Air Costa purchasing 50 Embraer E2 series aircraft, with an option for another 50.

-At the centre of the stage is the Airbus A350-900XWB, facing off with the Boeing 787. Neither aircraft received new orders at this show.

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-While many expected announcements by the RSAF on their KC-135 Air Refueling / Transport aircraft replacement, none were forthcoming from the Republic’s air force. Airbus themselves issued a ‘no comments’, though hinting a possible confirmation on the purchase of the A330 MRTT, as reported by French magazine Air Cosmos. Although the various briefings, notably by Northrop Grumman, gave me an insight on the capabilities of the SABR radar,a potential unit for the RSAF F-16 upgrade.

A pity in the show is the lack of time available for aerial display and demonstration. The Changi control zone have to be frozen to allow the display to take place over Changi Exhibition Centre, and only a meager one hour is given, hardly enough air time for all platform and team to strut their stuff. This one hour will incurred losses on the Changi side as they are unable to gain revenue from the arrivals and departures into the airport, not to mention the enormous backlog of aircraft awaiting to land and take-off after the show. Many visitor I know were disappointed when they are unable to catch the Black Eagles and MV-22 Osprey one the various days they were there.

The crowd were pleased with the aerobatics from the three teams, notably from the S.Korean’s Taeguk formation, receiving applause and wows by the simplistic yet impressive display. And for the first time Black Knights had flares released in the finale of their routine.

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-Having multiple units of F-15, F-16 and AH-64 might expedite the queue for sitting in the cockpit, but that usage of space is at the compromise of the KC-135 and Fokker 50.

-Dovetailing Singapore Airshow with the Air Force Open House might not be a good idea. Although for convenience sake it will be easy to have all the hassle and logistics done in one go at the SA14, but do remember now you are playing with less real estate at a commercial plot of land. Visitors now have to pay to enjoy what is used to be free at Paya Lebar Air Base, which allow closer view to the action and flying is independent to Changi arrivals and departures.The cutting down of tickets to 80,000 meant over 10,000 families and children are deprived of being inspired by the RSAF.

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