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THE Asia-Pacific will overtake Europe to become home to the second-largest fleet of civil helicopters in the world by 2026. North America will continue to have the biggest fleet in 2026 with a 37 per cent share of the global fleet, according to data from Flight Global Ascend Consultancy. The Asia-Pacific will see its proportion of the global fleet grow from 17 per cent in 2015 to 21 per cent in 2026. In contrast, Europe's share will shrink from 28 per cent to 20 per cent.
Similarly, the Asia-Pacific's share of new deliveries is also slated to rise in the same time frame, from 26 per cent to 32 per cent. Australia, China and New Zealand are the countries with the biggest fleets in the region today. In the case of China, its fleet size has grown from under 200 in 2006 to over 900 as at March 2017.
Against this backdrop, the inaugural Rotorcraft Asia (April 18-20) event kicks off at the Changi Exhibition Centre this week and is co-located with Unmanned Systems Asia. "The data shows that we are on a growth path," said Leck Chet Lam, managing director of organiser Experia Events, at a press conference on Monday. "Rotorcraft Asia and Unmanned Systems Asia can create value-add (and) a market platform so all these opportunities here can be leveraged."
Aside from showcasing the latest products and technologies in rotorcraft and unmanned systems, the two events will also feature strategic conferences and forums to discuss the key issues and challenges facing the sectors today. For instance, a forum at Unmanned Systems Asia is themed "Future of drones" and will look at the potential tasks that aerial drones will be able to perform in the future.
For example, some government agencies in Singapore are interested in exploring the use of commercial drones, highlighted Economic Development Board's director (transport engineering), Tan Kong Hwee. This could include inspection of MRT tunnels and detecting cracks on buildings. Over the three days, over 4,000 trade visitors from some 40 countries are expected to attend the two inaugural exhibitions. More than 80 companies are participating, including leading industry players such as Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin and Singapore Technologies Engineering.
Meanwhile, a VIP buyers programme will act as a platform for exhibitors and potential buyers to network and form partnerships via pre-arranged meetings. VIP buyers attending include senior representatives from the industry and from government bodies such as Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security and the Indonesian National Police. Helicopters on static display will include Airbus Helicopters' H160 and the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X.