Business

Some exhibitors drop out of Singapore Airshow due to coronavirus

Some aerospace companies including business jet manufacturers Textron and General Dynamics Corp's Gulfstream division said they no longer planned to attend the Singapore Airshow because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The trade portion of Asia's biggest airshow, held every two years, is set to begin next Tuesday under the shadow of the fast-spreading virus that has prompted Singapore to deny entry to any non-resident with recent history of travel to China, where the virus originated, Reuters reported.

The Black Eagles, the Republic of Korea Air Force's aerobatic team that pulled out of the last Singapore Airshow in 2018 after a crash, will be missing again, The Straits Times reported.

The team said in a Facebook post on Monday that it had decided not to take part in this year's airshow "after careful consideration".

"The decision was made as part of a government-wide effort to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection and as part of a preemptive measure to ensure the safety of our military personnel," said the Black Eagles, which has been a perennial favourite, especially during the weekend when the show is open to the public.

Airshow organiser Experia Events said last week the event would continue as planned, but the government measures meant it would "undoubtedly see a reduction in terms of the number of expected exhibitors and visitors this year".

It said doctors and medics will be on standby to attend to visitors who are feeling unwell.

In 2018, 54,000 trade attendees from 147 countries and 1,062 participating companies attended to network, examine products and sign deals covering commercial aviation, defence, maintenance and repair operations and business jets.

Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin Corp, among the biggest exhibitors, said they still planned to attend the show.

Textron and Gulfstream said their decision to not attend was a precautionary measure to protect the health of employees.

Russian aerospace group Rostec plans to send a reduced delegation to the show, Russian media reported.

The deputy administrator of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, Mr Li Jian, is no longer listed as a speaker at a pre-show leadership conference next Monday.

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac), which is developing the C919 narrowbody jet, had been due to attend the show before the travel ban was announced.

It did not respond immediately to Reuters' request for comment.

BUSINESS & FINANCE