Singapore air show

Hub with hubbub  

In a few years the Singapore Air Show, first held in 2008 and on for most of this week, has expanded to become Asia’s largest plane fest. Some say it is already the world’s fourth biggest such event, only behind the long-established Paris and Farnborough shows, as well as the more recently minted one in Dubai. And many exhibitors expect that Singapore will soon leave Dubai behind in its slipstream – not bad for a very small country that does not even make planes.

Yet Singapore does specialise in being a hub: in shipping, air travel, finance, freight – and now in the aircraft business. The tiny island is at the centre of an explosion in demand for passenger aircraft, which means that the world’s plane manufactures all have to be at Singapore’s air show. Some, such as Airbus, even launch new products there.

South-East Asia now boasts about as many orders for new passenger planes as aircraft in service: around 1,600 in both cases, estimates Centre for Aviation (CAPA), a market-research firm. In all of the Asia-Pacific region planes currently total 6,800, with 3,200 on order. Airbus is even more bullish: according to figures that it released at the airshow, the region’s airlines will take delivery of about 11,000 new passenger and cargo aircraft worth $1.8 trillion over the next 20 years. That would be more than in North America and Europe.

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