Air Transport World

Cautious hope in Singapore.(country's economic situation impacts airlines)

SINGAPORE--A quiet unease pervaded the 1998 running of Asian Aerospace here as customers and manufacturers faced up to the Asian downturn with a unanimous vote of confidence for the region's long-term prospects and economic health.

Short-term prospects, however, led to the evident unease despite the earnest efforts of all airline equipment manufacturers to put a positive spin on the uncertain economic conditions in many Asian nations. Singapore's economy remains robust but with the problems of Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and regional powerhouse Japan moribund, caution had to temper the long-term enthusiasm. Attending executives from several of the area's important airlines put a full recovery several years in the future. Western firms with regional joint ventures or subsidiaries were slowing their rate of new investment, in some cases, in pace with the economic troubles, while others said they were sticking with their Asian expansion plans.

The show was quiet in terms of a much smaller showing of commercial aircraft and a decreased attendance during the professional days, although exhibitors were nearly of one voice in their declarations of pleasure at the number of important customers who showed up.

Questions about delays and cancellation requests from Asian airlines persisted throughout the Airbus and Boeing briefings. …

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