Air Transport World

Singapore '92: business slow but healthy. (Asian Aerospace Show; includes related article on McDonnell Douglas in Asia)

SINGAPORE--This year's Asian Aerospace Air Show was notable more for what was happening below the surface than what was publicly discussed. McDonnell Douglas ongoing attempt to sell part of its commercial-aircraft operation to Asian partners moved along without substantial comment, as did its attempts to find an MD-12 configuration that would be attractive in the marketplace (See box, page 30).

The Eurobattle over new or derivative aircraft for the 70-130-seat size got hot, again without public notice. Fokker and DASA moved behind the scenes toward collaboration, the implied use of the Fokker 100 baseline for derivative 70 and 130-seat aircraft placing in doubt the DASA/Aerospatiale/Alenia Regioliner partnership and, by extension, new engines being considered for wholly new aircraft (see "Commuter/Regional Notebook," page 117).

Manufacturers who did bring large transports to the show--including the first international flight by the Airbus A340, the first show appearance of the MD-11 and the reappearance of the Ilyushin Il-96-300--were largely frustrated in their attempts to gain visibility for their programs by security rules that kept the aircraft nearly a kilometer away from the show's static display and restricted visits to them. None of them flew in the daily hour-long flight display by 14 aircraft that was meager by Paris and Farnborough standards, featuring only two civil-transport aircraft--the CN-235 that is assembled nearby in Indonesia, and the out-of-production but available Let 410.

While customer traffic in chalets and booths appeared lighter than two years ago--and some exhibitors decidedly were lacking in senior representation--many exhibitors were reporting satisfaction with the quality and number of people they did meet.

Show organizers said that while tighter controls on trade-day tickets resulted in an attendance decline to 19,770 from the 24,577 two years ago, the number of foreign professionals visiting the show increased 17% to 5,770. Although public-day tickets doubled in price and were available only before the show, public attendance dropped off only about 10%, to 41,250.

Airbus, as said, had both its A340 and its president, Jean Pierson in attendance briefly; McDonnell Douglas's MD-11 was accompanied by Bob Hood, president of Douglas and company Chairman John McDonnell. Boeing had a very low profile and a brief executive presence.

Despite reports that initial A340 tests show fuel and range performance coming in well under the targets, Airbus Senior VP-Commercial Stuart Iddles told ATW that the airplane is meeting performance guarantees. …

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