Singapore Airshow returns with a muted startTravel And Tour World


Published on : Wednesday, February 16, 2022

With COVID-19 related travel restrictions still plaguing airlines globally, the 2022 edition of the Singapore Airshow kicked off on a subdued note.

Not only is the airshow closed for general public but the number of exhibitors is also sharply down from the previous edition in February 2020, just as COVID-19 had started to spread.

According to an official statement, this year’s event has 600 exhibitors, much less than the 930 in 2020.

While airshows like this are typically marked with multibillion-dollar aircraft purchase deals being announced, this year the deal action was more muted.

Leases dominate day one

Instead of outright purchases, on day one of the three-day airshow, aircraft leases took centre stage.

Malaysia Airlines’ parent Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) signed an agreement with US-based Air Lease Corporation to lease 25 new Boeing 737-8 aircraft.

Izham Ismail, Group Chief Executive Officer of MAG, said in a statement that the deal allows MAG “greater flexibility” and “agility”.

India’s Alliance Air, a regional carrier, signed an agreement with UK-based lessor TrueNoord to acquire two ATR42-600s turbopropellor aircraft for its Himalayan routes.

Airbus manages to sell more

For the major aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, the early winner at the Singapore Airshow appeared to be Airbus. The manufacturer signed deals to sell 58 aircraft – 38 A320neo family aircraft to Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways and 20 A220s to aircraft leasing company Aviation Capital Group.

Boeing, on the other hand, wrapped up three service contracts from South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration for the Korea Air Force’s F-15K fighter jets, Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft and the Republic of Korea Army’s CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

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In its latest market outlook for the Asia-Pacific region, Airbus said that the region will see a passenger traffic growth of 5.3% per annum for the next 20 years and accelerated retirement of old aircraft for new fuel-efficient models will see the region needing 17,620 new passenger and freighter aircraft.

Hope for the future

According to Airbus, China, India and emerging economies such as Vietnam and Indonesia will be the principal drivers of growth in the region.

The future of jumbo jets in the region remains uncertain.

Airbus estimates that out of the 17,620 aircraft needed, 13,660 will be in the small category like the A220s and A320s, whereas medium sized aircraft will account for 2,470 aircraft and only 1,490 large planes will be required.

Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International said that they are seeing a global recovery in air traffic and as travel restrictions are further eased the Asia-Pacific region will become one of its main drivers again.

They are confident of a strong rebound in the region’s traffic and expect it to reach 2019 levels between 2023 and 2025.

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