Coronavirus kills aviation summit

SINGAPORE, 7 February 2020: Just days before the Singapore Airshow is due to open the organisers confirmed a conference held on the eve of the show fell foul of the novel coronavirus health scare.

However, organisers said the airshow itself would go ahead as scheduled 11 to 16 February.  The Airshow Aviation Leadership  Summit was due to convene 9 February at the Pan Pacific Hotel, with around 300 delegates attending mainly airline and airport executives.

The organisers, Experia Events, told AFP that 10 exhibitors from mainland China, including aeroplane-maker Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (COMAC), had pulled out of airshow held in Changi.

Six other companies from Canada and the United States, Britain and Germany have also withdrawn.

US aircraft maker Boeing and European rival Airbus are the biggest players at the airshow.

Top speakers at the conference included senior executives of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA said Asia-Pacific airlines lost around USD6 billion in revenue during SARS and are likely to be hit hard by the latest crisis.

The biennial Singapore Airshow attracted  54,000 trade visitors worldwide in 2018.

Earlier this week, the Nationa Association of Travel Agents Singapore shifted the dates for its travel fair from late February to early May.

On Thursday, the organisers of the annual Aviation Festival Asia 2020 confirmed the event has now been postponed from 18 to 20 February to 23 to 24 June.

Terrapinn that organises the annual event said the decision to move the event “was not taken lightly”.

It noted that many companies were imposing non-essential travel bans, while airline executives and staff were required to stay in their offices to deal with flight cancellations.

It confirmed that over 25% of airline and airport speakers dropped out this week and another 20% of airline and airport attendees have cancelled attendance.

However, Terrapinn assured delegates and partners the event would go on as previously advertised with floor plans and conference schedule unchanged at the Suntec Exhibition and Convention Centre venue, 23 to 24 June.

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