Singapore show watched for signs of recovery

February 2, 2010

The 130,000 attendees at this week’s Singapore Airshow are watching company announcements for signs that the recession is ending. So far, company executives have said it is indeed ending, but aircraft orders won’t return to normal until 2012.

Military, government, and flight school orders appear to be the main source of new orders that soften the impact of the recession. Piper Aircraft’s Mary Messuti, managing director of Piper Aircraft Asia, said the company has sold eight Piper Warriors and two Seminoles to the Australian Airline Pilot Academy.

Messuti noted these major developments in establishing inroads into the Asia/Pacific market: the formation of Piper Aircraft Asia headquartered in Brunei Darussalam; appointment of Allan Bligh, publisher of AOPA’s Australian Pilot, as vice president of marketing for Australia and New Zealand; plans for additional sales and service centers in the Pacific Rim, China, and adjacent locations; and establishment of a flight training academy in Brunei. Piper introduced the PiperSport to the market at the Singapore Airshow.

Cessna Aircraft will deliver the first of five Citation Mustangs to the Singapore Flying College training facility in Australia.

“This region has been one of the strongest for Cessna during the most recent downturn. It has been least affected by the economic climate and financing issues facing the rest of the world,” said Roger Whyte, Cessna’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “The strongest segments for Cessna in this region have been special mission and government orders.”

Boeing’s Randy Tinseth, vice president for marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told Reuters in Singapore that a healthy backlog sustained the company through one of the worst downturns in new orders in 15 years. He said, as the CEOs of Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft have said, that 2010 is a year of recovery, 2011 a year in which customers return to profitability, and 2012 a year in which there is an increased demand for airplanes.