Yesterday marked the Media Preview Day of the Singapore Airshow 2022, with hundreds of journalists, photographers and writers descending into Changi Exhibition Center. The day kicked off with an opening panel talk with Mr Leck Chet Lam, Managing Director of Experia, organiser of Singapore Airshow 2022, and Mr Lim Tse Yong, Vice President and Head of the Economic Development Board, Singapore. The panel remarked about the strong sense of optimism for the ongoing recovery of aviation in the Asia-Pacific region, with air travel demand projected to surge by 4.5% within the next 20 years, higher than any other region around the world. The vanguard of this growth will be the introduction of new aircraft into service, and Airbus and Boeing have both projected the Asia-Pacific region to receive more than 40% of all new aircraft delivery in the coming 2 decades.
With strong market potential, the Singapore Airshow 2022 aims to utilize Singapore’s position as a global trading and aviation hub, to springboard the Asia-Pacific recovery by being a medium where strong networks and strategic partnerships are forged. With nearly 13,000 trade attendees, and more than 600 companies, including 14 of the top 20 global aerospace companies being represented, the Airshow organizers are optimistic that the regional aviation sector will be in a stronger shape for the post-pandemic era.
With one of the core themes being about sustainability, many of the usual pamphlets and program outlines were digitalized. The show also aimed to reduce its carbon footprint, with 15,000 solar panels installed on the top of the exhibition hall. Another major key theme is the recovery of aviation, and numerous panel discussions and conferences are planned to discuss and debate about the market recovery, how to integrate sustainability into business practices and operations, as well as improving the interconnectivity of different industry players. Indeed, the core message and goal of the Airshow can be summarized in a statement from Mr Leck:
“The aviation industry has proven its resilience by overcoming numerous obstacles over the years. The presence of major exhibitors, partners and trade attendees is evidence of the collective optimism for recovery. We are proud to be rolling out the red carpet for critical conversations, strategic partnerships and new ideas that will catalyse the transformation and rebound of the aerospace and defence sector.”
The panel also recognized the COVID-19 was a significant gamechanger and pushed many companies and airlines to the brink, and in some unfortunate cases, off the brink, due to tighter border controls and a massive fall in air travel demand. However, they did note that in the recent months, aviation has made a comeback, bolstered by the upsurge of demand in cargo, and with countries opening their borders, a gradual increase in passenger travel figures. Mr Lim expressed Singapore’s commitment to be a MRO and service center hub for aerospace. One of the key actions was the government’s initiatives to retain, reskill and upgrade the local talent of technicians and engineers to support key projects, including the P2F conversions. One example of such a project is the recent A320 P2F, which took flight 2 months ago.
Mr Lim also shard some key innovations being undertaken by the Singapore aerospace industry, highlighting the dynamism of our aviation hub and the skills of our local talents:
SIA Engineering’s innovative development of a new engine lifter, which helped to vastly improve the speed of aircraft engine removal, repairs and overhauls
The MOU between Airbus and CAAS for the development of infrastructure for the upcoming hydrogen powered aircraft
eVTOLs or air taxi development
The conference/panel discussion concluded with the two speakers expressing their optimism on the success of the Airshow, and more broadly, on the success of the Asia Pacific region in bouncing back from the setbacks introduced by the pandemic.
Aerial displays (SUMMARY)
After the conference, the media teams were treated to an amazing flying display preview from both commercial and military sectors of aviation. The Republic of Singapore Air Force kicked off the aerial displays with 2 AH-64D Apaches executing bedazzling manoeuvres and tight formations. The F-16C was up next, wowing the audience with the roar of her Pratt and Whitney engines in full afterburner.
As the distant echoes of the F-16C died away, the low humming of the General Electric GE9X alerted the audience to the long-awaited arrival of the Boeing 777X, which gracefully executed multiple aerial manoeuvres including her signature steep climbouts and banking turns in her debut performance in Asia.
After that came India’s HAL Tejas fighter in her first appearance at the Singapore Airshow, displaying her incredible agility.
Next was Airbus’s turn in the limelight, and she didn’t disappoint with her display of the Airbus A350-1000, touted as the first “clean-sheet design” wide body aircraft. With her massive sharklet glistening in the sun, the A350-1000 performed numerous sharp turns across the Johor Strait in front of the awestruck audience.
As aircraft veers back to Runway 02R, the USMC then debuted their F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, fully utilizing her thrust vectoring to perform manoeuvres no generation-4 aircraft can ever perform, with the most amazing moment when she utilized her downward thrust vectoring technology to hover above the glistening waters, throwing up a massive spray of mist as photographers snapped away.
And finally, can the Indonesian Jupiter Aerobatics Team, with their jaw dropping aerial performances.
The Airshow Media Preview Day was indeed a major showcase of the best of aviation, and with the static displays of numerous aircraft like Cebu Pacific’s Airbus A330neo, Korean air’s A220-300, the Boeing KC46 MRTT and the P-8 Poseidon, the upcoming days will be an amazing treat to participants attending the Airshow. However, due to Safe Management Measures, there will be no days when the grounds will be open to the public. That said, aviation enthusiasts can head down to Changi Beach Park to catch the aerial displays in action or live stream the segment at www.go.gov.sg/sa22live.