Singapore loses some of the lift from airshow

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 10 Feb 2020

More than 70 exhibitors including US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin pulled out of the Singapore Airshow over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, but organizers insisted yesterday that Asia's biggest aviation event would go ahead.

Precautionary measures - including a major reduction in the projected public attendance and body temperature screenings - have been imposed ahead of the opening of the event tomorrow in the republic, where 40 coronavirus infections had been reported by yesterday.

Organizers were also encouraging attendees to greet each other by bowing or waving instead of shaking hands.

Leck Chet Lam, managing director of organizer Experia Events, acknowledged more than 70 exhibitors would not be participating but forecast there would still be a solid turnout.

The biggest names in aerospace participate in the show, and massive deals such as aircraft orders from big carriers are often announced at the event.

Many nations, including Singapore, have barred the entry of travelers who had been to China recently from entering or transiting through its territory to counter the spread of the virus.

Despite that ban, the Chinese air force is taking part in the show for the first time. The acrobatic team's displays will be a highlight of the biennial event, but more than 10 mainland companies have withdrawn.

On Friday, Singapore upgraded its virus alert to the second-highest level on a four-point system.

Lockheed Martin and manufacturer De Havilland, pulled out after the alert level was raised. Canada's Bombardier and the South Korean air force's aerobatics team have also pulled out.

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