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This article was Originally Published on May 01, 2002 in Volume: 1  Issue: 2

Sept 11 Impacts Singapore Show

As predicted, Asian Aerospace 2003 (AA2002), the Singapore air show suffered from the downturn and decline of the world recession triggered by terrorist attacks on the United States last Sept 11.

By Dan Cook

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As predicted, Asian Aerospace 2002 (AA2002), the Singapore air show and one of Asia's premier aeronautical events, suffered from the downturn and decline of the world recession triggered by terrorist attacks on the United States last Sept. 11. Although organizers did their best to paint a rosy picture of the show, the absence of multiple product orders was testimony to the fact that 2002 will not go down as a banner year for related industries.

Smaller crowds on the flight line and in exhibition halls and sparsely peopled exhibitors' chalets seemed to underscore the sharp downturn, and many companies sent second-tier executives to represent their firms. Security was extraordinarily tight this year; first-day trade visitors experienced delays of up to two hours getting to the Changi Exhibition Center as cadres of police from Singaporean security agencies diverted exhibition-bound vehicles for searches of their exteriors, engine and passenger compartments for explosives and other contraband.

Show organizers said several events organized to coincide with the show added value and strength to the program for visitors. These included Asia Pacific Security Conference (APSEC), the Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence Conference (C4I Asia 2002) and the Air Freight Expo (AFE 2002).

Co-organized by the show's sponsor, Asian Aerospace Pte Ltd. and the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies (IDSS), APSEC brought together some 320 delegates from the political, military, corporate and academic sectors worldwide to network and discuss the subject of security with the aim of improving global peace.

"APSEC was very well received by the participants," said Barry Decker, director of IDSS. "For most participants, especially from the uniformed services, it was a useful exposure to the latest trends in international affairs, especially after Sept. 11. The conference also provided stimulating insights into a diverse range of perspectives on critical issues in the strategic agenda.

"Terrorism was the subject [that] attracted considerable attention, but the conference also discussed issues such as the U.S. role [in the world], the emergence of China, [the] India/Pakistan nuclear rivalry and the significance of local conflicts and internal wars," he said.

Organizers, meanwhile, claimed some 'impressive reports' on trade deals done at the show as well as visitor numbers. They named 900 exhibiting companies from 37 countries - certainly no record there, down from about 930 exhibitors. In what may be an example of new math, organizers claimed a record 120 "official delegations" from 38 countries at the show. 

Jimmy Lau, managing director of Asian Aerospace Pte Ltd, claimed that U.S. $3.2 billion in trade deals were announced at the show. The largest of these surely was an announcement by a Dubai airline ordered 98 engines from Engine Alliance to power it fleet of 22 Airbus A380s Super Jumbos in a deal valued at $1.5 billion. Airbus was one of the few companies to send its top officials, with president and CEO Noel Fogeard and senior vice president John Leahy, a marketing executive, to represent them.

As had been reported in MAT's first edition, European Aerospace Defense and Space Co. (EADS), showed an aggressive marketing campaign for its Airbus subsidiary in the developing Pacific Rim nations and a new interest in military sales, sending its co-CEO's Phillipe Camus and Rainer Hertrich.

Other deals included an award by the U.S. Army to Honeywell worth $1.1 billion to upgrade its T55 engines, Honeywell inked another pact worth $80 million with the U.K. Ministry of Defense for T55 engine repair and overhaul, and a joint venture between SIA Engineering Co, Rolls-Royce and Hong Kong Aero Engine Services for an engine overhaul facilityâ??Singapore Aero Engine Services Ltd (SAESL)â??valued at U.S. $185 million was announced.

It was also announced that Paradigm Secure Communications, a joint venture of EADS and BAE Systems, would provide Britain's next generation of secure military satellite communications. Paradigm was selected over Rosetta Global Communications, led by Lockheed Martin with BAE Systems as a partner. The deal will be worth about U.S. $2.8 billion over two decades and consists of the transfer of the existing Skynet 4 satellite infrastructure and its eventual replacement by the Skynet 5 system.

And Sikorsky Chairman Dean Borgman told reporters on the eve of the show that the company is better positioned to deal with the economic fallout from Sept. 11 than most other manufacturers because its business is heavily weighted towards the military sector.

"Of course we have the S-76, which is an important aircraft for us," said Borgman, "But the majority of our helicopters do not operate in the civil sector. The general outlook is that we are likely to see additional defense spending in many places around the world, but particularly in the United States and we hope to be in a position to win some of that business."

Borgman said Singapore and the Pacific Rim in general remain strategically important areas and key growth markets in the years ahead. Sikorsky is engaged in crucial competitions in Singapore itself for the S-70 Seahawk, and also in Japan with the S-92. "We believe we stand a good chance, but as with all this competition we need to wait and see what unfolds."

Dain Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., said there is still a chance for Singapore to join the system development and demonstration (SDD) stage of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Speaking to reporters during an overview of his company's business prospects, Hancock said, "There's still a lot of government-to-government discussion at this point. Whether Singapore goes is their decision, but we in the United States have said for some time that the way is still open for some countries to participate."

He praised Canada's recent decision to become the second foreign nation to buy into the F-35 project, adding, in response to a question from MAT, "First of all, they brought money to the table. Secondly, they made an early commitment; both were important . . . "

But in a sign of the times, India's Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), in a press conference featuring chairman N.R. Mohanty, said it intends to outsource all its low and medium technical work to private industry, rather than greatly expanding its 32,000-person workforce. He denied reports from last Fall that HAL had 50 firm orders and 100 options for the Indian/Russian Multirole Transport Aircraft, and conceded that developing the Advanced Light Helicopter has been "a struggle" that had to be speeded up.

Lau said last month that more than 70 percent of the exhibiting companies at AA2002 have already confirmed their bookings for the next show 2004.

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