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Singapore

Feb 14, 2016

Is there much to Show at the #SGAirshow?

Any illusion that not much is happening in Singaporean aviation based on the muted previews of this year's Singapore Airshow would be rudely blown away if the activities of its airl

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The Singapore Air Force flies another sortie looking for air show action
The Singapore Air Force flies another sortie looking for air show action

Any illusion that not much is happening in Singaporean aviation based on the muted previews of this year’s Singapore Airshow would be rudely blown away if the activities of its airlines and airport were made into the real story.

However that’s not usually what the jamboree that starts in earnest tomorrow is about, and so far, the regular stuff of airshows, huge orders for jets, exciting new technological breakthroughs, and the never ending contest between Airbus and Boeing, all seems lacking.

If this was your normal red blooded Paris or Farnborough or Dubai airshow (and the last ones at those venues were also unusually tame) the combatants would have already been leaking stories intended to frighten their opponents into not showing up.

But nope, there is no buzz about how big this show is going to be. At this moment, Singapore 2016 looks like being marginally more exciting than a basket weaving for world peace meeting of concerned citizens in the local town hall.

A sense of studied despair can be read between the lines of this scholarly preview by a team from Reuters in which the list of contributors may be longer than any tally for sales of jets in excess of larger commitments to draw up loosely worded Memorandums of Understanding that airlines have grudgingly indicated they might possibly sign at some future indeterminate date.

This could also be true in the military sphere. Apparently none of the super stealth, attack bomber designs coming out of Russia, China and America actually work.  But they will promote world peace by bankrupting any state that buys more than two of them. (This is of course a mild oversimplification of the real state of new defence projects, but it does seem that nobody can make anything for even a fraction of the originally promised price or capabilities anymore.)

Somewhere in the exhibitor halls there is probably a stand doing a roaring trade in Roman catapults and cross bows.

The sense of move along nothing to see here may of course be premature. There have to be some grand initiatives being readied for launching in there somewhere.

Outside the normal remit of the airshow, Singapore’s Changi airport is a model of growth, efficiency and to use a term popular in Canberra, ‘agility’. The contest between low cost carrier growth and fabulously grand legacy carrier standards is driving big changes in the Singapore economy as well as its terminal, although with the exception of Jetstar Asia, all the risk and reward of the battle is actually owned by the Singapore Airlines group,  so it’s almost all in house.

Will Scoot kill its Singapore Airlines parent, which at times seems to be the plot, or is there something else going on? The biggest struggle of all in Singaporean aviation is arguably the contest between Changi and the running amok of the ME3 hubs at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, with Istanbul and Tehran yet to thrown themselves in the thick of the biggest battle for the aggregation of air traffic outside of China, which may take a little longer to enter the fray than recently thought.

There is always plenty of action going on in Singapore aviation, but whether much is seen or heard in the next week is the question.

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5 comments

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5 thoughts on “Is there much to Show at the #SGAirshow?

  1. Rais

    “Will Scoot kill its Singapore Airlines parent…” – Ben I can imagine it will shrink Singapore Airlines’ short to medium haul market but can you imagine anyone but the most determined back packer flying long haul with Scoot? The only way I can imagine myself doing that is in short hops, say from Perth to Frankfurt with two two-night stopovers on the way. Then accommodation on the stopovers would probably exceed the fare savings.

  2. Ben Sandilands

    The hollowing out process is what gets talked about in some places.

    Let’s suppose that half the total traffic between Australian gateways and Singapore for all airlines ends up in low cost brands, some of them Singaporean owned.

    That destroys the yields and case for current frequencies in full service brands as far as Changi, where Singapore or near Asia traffic is predominantly low cost, while the unsatisfied but now uneconomic demand for longer haul full service carriage now bleeds even more into the ME3 hubs.

    This ends up being a very unsatisfactory outcome for the future of full service carriage to both Singapore and beyond. It is considered a very real threat, or opportunity, by the players in the market, exacerbated of course by loss of traffic of all types to KLIA.

  3. Ken Borough

    Perhaps the party’s over for Singapore Inc. and its many component parts?

  4. Keto Vodda

    ” but it does seem that nobody can make anything for even a fraction of the originally promised price”

    No doubt that is true, but it also serves as cover for diverting funding to secret “black” projects.

    It saves the US Sec of Defense having to admit that trillions of dollars cannot be accounted for.

  5. Dan Dair

    Keto Vodda,
    ‘No doubt that is true, but it also serves as cover for diverting funding to secret “black” projects.
    It saves the US Sec of Defense having to admit that trillions of dollars cannot be accounted for’

    I would not try to say your comments were inaccurate…..

    I would suggest a couple of additions, however;
    The other nations’ planemakers can’t get their aircraft to work properly either,
    &
    the other nations don’t actually have to worry about covertly diverting funds, as there isn’t any ‘independent’ oversight of what their governments choose to direct their nations funds towards.?

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