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Singapore Airshow 2020 to be fully solar-powered, says organiser

THE Singapore Airshow 2020 will be fully solar-powered for the first time in its 12-year history, as sustainability becomes a key area of focus for the biennial event next February.

To be held at Experia Events' Changi Exhibition Centre, the aviation show will be powered by over 15,000 solar panels capable of producing 7,840 megawatt hours (Mwh) of power annually. These solar panels have already been installed on the building's roof.

"This is really our little effort in contributing to make sure there is environmental sustainability," Leck Chet Lam, managing director of organiser Experia Events, said during a press briefing on Thursday.

The Singapore Airshow will be held from Feb 11 to 16, 2020, and apart from a trade exhibition, this seventh edition will also feature a series of high-level meetings, business forums, youth engagement programmes and aerial displays for the public.

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Mr Leck said they are expecting more than 65 of the top 100 aerospace and defence companies, over 1,000 companies from some 50 countries, and an excess of 55,000 trade attendees from 150 countries at Asia's largest aerospace event.

Among them, he said there has been a 5 per cent increase in participation from private companies in China, with greater interest from them in pushing their products to the wider market. This includes the wide-body CRAIC CR929 aircraft, which was developed by Russia and China to challenge the duopoly held by US' Boeing and Europe's Airbus.

Asked if geopolitical tensions such as the US-China trade war would have any impact on the air show, Mr Leck said these do not affect the Singapore Airshow's "strong" participation numbers.

"The aviation industry is a long-cycle business, it's not like consumer electronics ... This is my personal view but we all know that the trade war is not going to be a 20- to 30-year thing. It's going to be three years, five years, I don't know, but the aviation cycle will outlive that, so I think that's why we're all taking a long-term view," he said.

One new programme at the show is an Innovation Forum, where industry leaders the likes of EmbraerX and Boeing HorizonX will discuss the theme of urban mobility.

"We all want to take an autonomous air taxi, we want to go into those futuristic vehicles that we see, so the speakers from all these leading companies will be here to talk about their innovation, their timeline and how their products are evolving and how they'll fit into our day-to-day lives," Mr Leck said.

Business forums and high-level meetings like the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit, which will be attended by aviation and government regulators, airline and airport chiefs and industry experts, will continue to be a highlight of the event.

At the same time, the A*STAR Aerospace Technology Leadership Forum, the Singapore Aerospace Technology & Engineering Conference and the inaugural Aerospace Media Awards Asia will be co-located at the Singapore Airshow. 

Another key initiative is the series of "talent development" programmes like Education Days and Aero Campus that are targeted at youths. These are meant to pique younger students' interest in aerospace technology and possibly connect graduating students with companies looking to hire.