Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Airlines face growth warning as virus curtails Singapore Airshow

Asian airlines face "drastic" cuts in their planned growth because of the coronavirus crisis, an industry group warned, adding gloom to an already depleted Singapore Airshow as more companies scaled back plans on Monday.

The Singapore Airshow from February 11 to 16 is proceeding, but the exhibition centre is pockmarked with empty spaces that would have held displays from Chinese companies and others skipping the show because of the epidemic, which has killed more than 900 people.

More than 70 exhibitors, including major US Defence firms Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co have pulled out over concerns related to the new coronavirus.

Few deals are expected at the biennial event, where the epidemic has triggered new safety measures and cast a shadow over airline profits and demand for airplanes.

hit, the International Air Transport Association had expected passenger numbers to rise by 4% in 2020 and cargo traffic to be 2% higher.

"All bets are off in terms of traffic forecasts for this year," Andrew Herdman, the director general of the Association for Asia Pacific Airlines, said in an interview.
"If you look at the schedule cuts and the actual operations, they have been cut by 50%, 60%, 70% within China. It is pretty drastic," he said.

The Pentagon reduced the size of its delegation to the air show, which had been set to include its chief weapons buyer, US Undersecretary of Defense Ellen Lord, said on Friday.

"Sure, there were some adjustments by some colleagues, but it has not changed our footprint," U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs R Clarke Cooper said Monday, adding that his agency's delegation remained fully intact.
10/02/20 Jamie Freed & Tim Hepher/Hans India
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