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Key conference to give a bird's eye view of aviation's future

Meeting of minds at the cusp of a big technological revolution for the aviation industry.

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Some of the aviation industry's leading figures who will speak at SAALS include Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); Alexandre de Juniac, director-general of Iata (above) and Jeffrey Goh, chief executive of airline grouping Star Alliance.

Singapore 

LIKE the other events at the Singapore Airshow, this year's Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit (SAALS) - the key conference of the airshow - will focus on how technology and innovation will change the future of the aviation industry.

The biennial conference, now in its sixth edition, will take place on Feb 4-5 at Pan Pacific Singapore.

It is jointly organised by the Singapore Ministry of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Experia Events, and the International Air Transport Association (Iata). This year's theme is "Reimagining Aviation's Future". Participants to the closed-door conference will include representatives from airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, aircraft manufacturers, governments and civil aviation authorities.

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Some of the aviation industry's leading figures who will speak at SAALS include Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); Alexandre de Juniac, director-general of Iata; and Jeffrey Goh, chief executive of airline grouping Star Alliance.

In total, about 300 top-level government and industry decision-makers from all over the world are expected to attend the conference. CAAS director-general Kevin Shum said: "We are looking very much at the cusp of a big technological revolution for the aviation industry." He added: "SAALS will provide a timely platform to catalyse critical conversations among the movers and shakers in global aviation, bringing them together to reimagine aviation's future and unlock its full value."

Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan will kickstart the event with a welcome address. This will be followed up with a series of speeches by Roberto Kobeh González, former president of ICAO, Dr Aliu and Mr de Juniac.

Next, a leadership panel discussion will take place. This will provide a broad strategic overview towards the changes in technology and innovation in aviation.

The panel will consist of a diverse pool of speakers, to provide a variety of perspectives from both developed and emerging markets.

The speakers include ministers from South Africa and Bahrain, the chief executives from Ethiopian Airlines and BOC Aviation, as well as the European Commission's director-general for mobility and transport.

A series of three panels will be conducted after the leadership panel has ended. They will explore the challenges brought about by technology and innovation in greater detail.

Patrick de Castelbajac, Airbus's executive vice-president strategy and international, will speak on the latest technological developments in a session titled "Next Generation of Aircraft Technologies". He will be joined by chief executive of Qantas Group Alan Joyce, Aviation Week managing editor Jens Flottau and GE Aviation vice-president and general manager of global sales and marketing Chaker A Chahrour.

Another session - named "The Airline Industry: What's Behind the Horizon?" - will involve chief executives of SriLankan Airlines and Vietnam Airlines, as well as Star Alliance's Mr Goh.

They will discuss whether traditional full-service airlines can use new technologies to gain an advantage over low cost carriers, which have been a driving force in the Asian market for the past few years.

The final panel would feature unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), currently a hot-button issue.

The discussion will focus on the impact of both the lighter and heavier UAVs, as well as the rules and regulations of the UAV industry.

Carl Burleson, acting deputy administrator, US Federal Aviation Administration, will provide the perspective of a regulator.

At the same time, Adam Welsh, head of public policy for Asia-Pacific, DJI - the world's largest civilian drone manufacturer - and Peter Ho, chief executive of Hope Technik - a homegrown engineering and robotics small medium enterprise - will present their own perspectives.

With regard to the future of aviation and the importance of SAALS, Mr Shum said: "While the industry is expanding exponentially, opening up opportunities for economic growth and businesses, these developments also bring about immense challenges and complexities."

"Aviation leaders must make the right choices today to create the right pathways for a sustainable and brighter future for aviation."

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