Singapore Airshow still on despite coronavirus concerns

The Singapore Airshow is moving ahead this year from Feb. 11 to 16 despite the growing concerns of coronavirus infection throughout China.

China Ministry of Defence Photo
Only eight per cent of the airshow’s exhibitors have pulled out due to coronavirus concerns. China Ministry of Defence Photo
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On Feb. 7, Canadian manufacturer Longview Aviation announced its subsidiaries, De Havilland Canada and Viking Air Limited, had elected not to attend the show “in light of the increased alert level announced today by the Singapore Government and Ministry of Health due to incidents of coronavirus in Singapore,” the company said in a statement.

To date, there have been 43 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Singapore. Before Longview’s decision to withdraw, co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on novel coronavirus in Singapore, Lawrence Wong, issued a statement that the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition level had been raised to Orange from Yellow, and recommended that all large-scale events be cancelled.

Longview joined other major manufacturers such as Bombardier, Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin and Textron, among others, who have decided they would not be attending the airshow this year. Other major OEMs, including Boeing and Airbus, have made the decision to attend. In all, more than 70 exhibitors decided to avoid the show — roughly eight per cent of the total.

In an additional response to the increasing threat of coronavirus, Singapore Airshow officials have cancelled the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit 2020 — a show event that was slated to see roughly 300 leaders in the aviation industry and government attend. Along with that, a strict no-contact greeting policy is being enforced for show participants.

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Effects of the coronavirus have been felt across the Chinese aviation industry, as OAG — a provider of digital flight information, intelligence and analytics for airports, airlines and travel tech companies — reported that roughly two-thirds of international capacity to and from China has been cancelled.

To build on that, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) recently announced it has cancelled this year’s Asian Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (ABACE), which was scheduled to take place in Shanghai from April 16-18. Current numbers from that city have reported roughly 300 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

“While the Chinese government is taking commendable steps to address the coronavirus outbreak, the current situation has presented a very challenging environment for decision-making and action for ABACE participants to fully prepare for the event. This necessary step is being taken in the spirit of partnership, collaboration and transparency,” said Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO.

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