Asia's Largest Air Show Opened Tuesday
It's a battle of the
behemoths -- or, more accurately, the superjumbos -- at Singapore's
Asian Aerospace Exhibition. In particular, the two commercial
airliner heavyweights -- Boeing and Airbus -- are
squaring off over the booming aerospace market in China and
Perhaps the biggest battle is over, appropriately enough, the
largest aircraft. Boeing is featuring its upcoming 747-8, the
latest variant of the evergreen jumbo jet, at the show... while
urging customers considering a large airliner to wait until 2010
when the aircraft is ready.
Meanwhile, Airbus is telling those customers "why wait?" and
pointing to its own A380. An A380 decked out in Singapore Airlines'
livery (the airline is the launch customer for the whalejet) flew
in for the event, and so far is the unrivaled star of the show.
The two companies are also competing for market share with
smaller aircraft, too, with Airbus celebrating its recent order
from Indian Airlines for 43 aircraft, and Boeing responding with an
order from India's SpiceJet for 10 737s, with options for 10 more.
Boeing's 777 is expected to continue its sales roll over the
competing A340, as well.
The Seattle Times-Intelligencer reports Boeing said in a
statement it "enters Singapore with terrific momentum across the
company." Airbus, which won the sales crown for the fifth straight
year in 2005, said it's coming to the Asian show with "a positive
outlook after achieving record orders, deliveries and profitability
The show isn't all about
Airbus and Boeing, however. Manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin,
Sweden's SAAB, Russia's Sukhoi and Dassault Aviation of France are
also showcasing various combat aircraft at the event -- as Asian
nations increase their budgets to shore up their defenses.
Lockheed hopes the Indian Air Force will select its F-16 for a
big (as many as 126) fighter jet order. The IAF is also reportedly
looking at Boeing's F/A-18, as well as Gripens (right), Mirages,
and various Sukhois.
As Aero-News reported Monday,
even Brazilian manufacturer Embraer is getting in on the
act, spotlighting its Super Tucano turboprop. While primarily
marketed as a trainer, the Super Tucano can also be outfitted as a
light fighter for developing nations.
In all, more than 930 exhibitors are displaying their wares in
Singapore -- which shows how important the Asian market has become
on the global aviation scene.
"Asia is becoming a huge market for the aerospace industry,"
said Ghazemy Mahmud, editor of the Asian Defense Journal.
"Countries here are developing swiftly, and their purchases of
commercial and military aircraft are speeding up together with
their economic growth."
The biennial show -- which ranks third globally behind the
alternating shows in Paris and Farnborough -- will relocate to Hong
Kong in 2008, a move several manufacturers feel will give them an
added "leg-up" in their goal to expand into the burgeoning Chinese