“Are you going to the 2018 Singapore Airshow?” was probably the most frequently asked question on my social media earlier this year. Many of my blog followers were excited about this biennial Asia’s largest aviation event.
After attending the last 4 editions of the Singapore Airshow, I was ready to give this year’s edition a miss simply because of the timing having just come back from my short trip to Italy. However the temptation of stepping into the brand new Airbus A350-1000 and an invitation from Airbus to join a few other regional aviation bloggers for a 1.5 day visit were too hard to resist.
So I found myself once again in Asia’s aviation hub, Singapore.
Joining the bloggers tour hosted by Airbus for the second time, I was excited to discover what is new in this edition as far as Airbus’s products are concern and the opportunity to meet up with some familiar faces.
During the welcome dinner (food was marvelous by the way!), I had the chance to meet up with some of key Airbus representatives. It was during dinner that I discovered that the boundaries of Airbus participation in this year’s Singapore Airshow is wider and includes areas beyond commercial and military planes. I was excited to listen to stories about space satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), big data and helicopters and all this nicely built up the appetite for what awaits us the next day.
Singapore Airshow 2018 – a world-class aviation event that brings together high-level government and military delegations, leading industry players, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, airport operators and aviation stakeholders from all over. A common avenue for Asia-Pacific’s aviation players to initiate business deals, announce new contracts and orders, unveil new technology and gain positive PR value.
With hundreds of exhibitors, static aircraft displays and awesome aerial display, it is impossible to cover the Singapore Airshow in just one day. But that was the game plan for the day and this task was made simpler for me as my intention for this edition is to just cover what Airbus has to offer. After all Airbus is the largest international exhibitor at the 2018 Singapore Airshow.
Just like two years ago, the Airbus A350 and A400M are still the “stars” of the show. This time the -1000 variant getting the spotlight inside and outside the exhibition hall.
Innovation seems to be the keyword in every new technology and features that were introduced by Airbus. Take Airspace by Airbus for example.
Imagine redefining the interior of the cabin of a plane. That’s what Airbus is trying to innovate with Airspace. As a start, it continues the drive the push for industry towards adopting wider passenger seats – 18-inch wide seats to be exact. Not only the seats are getting more ergonomic, Airbus is also utilising latest technology to get rid of bulky in-flight entertainment systems to free up more under seat foot space for the passengers.
And good news for both cabin crew and passengers – a bigger overhead compartment that hopefully will translate into a stress free boarding experience.
If those features do not excite you, some of Airspace’s other innovation that we were told might change your mind. My personal favourite – the cabin design. Offering a sophisticated, flexible canvas, Airspace by Airbus cabin design has a backdrop which airline customers can project their own brand.
Imagine if they can project a live feed of the view outside the plane, that would be quite cool.
Also being featured at Airbus exhibition pavilion is its advanced aircraft maintenance predictive analytics service – Skywise. Skywise is a technology that captures vast amounts of performance data, and with the information, airlines can better anticipate their maintenance needs with high levels of accuracy, and well in advance.
With this feature, airlines can improve its operational reliability and utilization of their jetliners. Therefore it is no surprise that AirAsia, an airline that really emphasize on operational reliability are among the earliest airlines to subscribe to this.
Also at the booth and during lunch, the bloggers were introduced on how Airbus is making full use of VR technology to enhance passengers’ experience. The new iflyA380 iOS app allows any travellers the opportunity to “fly” on board Airbus’ flagship A380 jetliner complete with a 360° tour of cabins from various airlines. Even at the booth, we had the chance to experience various scenario of Airbus products.
As much as the indoor displays are informative, what excites me the most is of course the REAL PLANES!
While I am never a fan of military planes, this particular Airbus A400M bird has a special place in my heart. It is a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF)’s plane and as a Malaysian, it is a proud moment seeing it on display at an international airshow.
I also got to know that this RMAF Airbus A400M Atlas military airlifter is one of the hardest working A400Ms in service, and among the three with the most logged flights to date.
The A400M has the capability to carry as much as 37 tonnes of payload. Its cargo hold dimensions are optimised for the mixed transportation of heavy vehicles in the central area with troops seated at the sides.
By the way, this is the same plane that Tom Cruise hangs on to in Mission Impossible.
And I’m quite sure if it is sexy enough for Tom Cruise, it is sexy enough for a James Bond movie as well. With a Bond Girl perhaps? 😛
A proud commander.
Just next to the A400M is the centre of attention of the whole Singapore Airshow 2018. She was on an extensive 12-city tour throughout the Middle East and Asia-Pacific region and she made an exclusive appearance at this airshow. She is the Airbus A350-1000!
Yes, my last three blog posts have been about how much I have fell in love with Malaysia Airlines A350-900 (click here to read), but this is a brand new variant. Seven metres longer than the A350-900, slightly more efficient and I get to be one of the first few to be inside this plane. Perfect.
Remember Airspace that I talked about earlier? The A350-1000 is designed to offer those unique features – quiet twin-aisle cabin in the skies, wider seats and elegant LED ambient lighting.
The highlight of the A350 cabin tour has to be the brief chat with one of Airbus Test Pilot, Jean-Michael Roy. This is the person that I watched on YouTube giving VIPs cockpit tours during previous airshows so the opportunity to be in the same cockpit as him was quite an experience.
The “As Seen On Airbus Video 2016” Pose 🙂
We also made a quick stop at Airbus Helicopters Static Display. Once known as Eurocopter, Airbus Helicopters has quite a big presence in this region including Malaysia. Not much information that I managed to gather this time so hopefully I get the chance to visit its office in Malaysia one day.
They say time flies when you are having fun. Without even realising, it was half-day gone and time to head up to the final feature of Airbus’ showcase for this edition of Singapore Airshow 2018 – Airbus Helicopters’ Skyways
Skyways is an experimental UAV or drone project aimed at developing a safe and economically viable aerial unmanned parcel delivery system for use in dense urban environments. It is a collaboration between Airbus Helicopters, National University of Singapore, CAAS and SingPost.
We had the privilege to witness Skyways first flight demonstration at NUS Campus.
Quite impressive to see the simulation of parcel being picked up and drop off, all through integration of technology. This might not be commercially viable today but this is the way forward. Imagine the benefits that it can bring if this technology is being further developed. “Flying cars” that we always dream of might not be a reality so soon but this is a step closer towards that.
And with that, my quick visit to experience Airbus’ products and innovation at the Singapore Airshow 2018 comes to an end. It is definitely worth the trip although for the next edition, I will definitely pay a bit more and extend my stay to cover the rest of the airshow.
This edition of Singapore Airshow might lack the excitement of large aircraft orders and major announcements but it is never short of new things to experience.
Prior to the trip I had wondered whether I will be seeing the same things that I saw 2 years ago. There were some déjà vu moments but one thing I realised that companies like Airbus never stop innovating. Innovations like Airspace and Skyways are set to spur the growth of the industry and create niche that can take the company to a greater height.
Thank you Airbus for the invitation. While it is a sponsored trip, the post was written based on my own opinion and it is no secret that I am an Airbus fan even before the trip! 🙂