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Singapore Airshow deals hit record high

The Singapore Airshow's trade portion ended on Friday, with the value of deals announced hitting US$32 billion. This is a new record, surpassing the previous edition by US$1 billion.

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Airshow's trade portion ended on Friday, with the value of deals announced hitting US$32 billion.

This is a new record, surpassing the previous edition by US$1 billion.

The airshow opens to the public over the weekend.

The Singapore Airshow's organisers had conservatively expected deals sealed at the event to reach 70 to 80 per cent of the US$31 billion mark seen at the 2012 edition.

But this expectation was surpassed, fuelled by Asian carriers hungry to expand.

SilkAir, for instance, is progressively entering its 54-strong fleet of Boeing 737s into service.

Leslie Thng, chief executive of SilkAir, said: "We are exploring to open up new destinations within the region. I think for existing destinations, because of the features that this new aircraft will bring, our customers who are flying on this new aircraft will be able to enjoy the enhanced product that we have on board."

The planes feature wireless streaming of entertainment to passengers' tablets or smartphones and ambient lighting to match conditions outside.

One subtle feature adding to passenger comfort is the streamlined design of overhead cabins. Cabins in many planes jut out quite a bit, so there is less headroom when walking through the aisle. However, the overhead cabins in the new aircraft gently curve inwards, so a person can walk comfortably without hindrance.

Demand for single-aisle planes suited for short- to medium-haul flights has helped the Singapore Airshow see the total value of deals sealed increase.

It helped that there were over 40,000 trade visitors this year -- 2,000 more than in 2012.

Jimmy Lau, managing director of Experia Events and organiser of the Singapore Airshow 2014, said: "The Singapore Airshow will continue to (strive) to bring in an international audience, which is important to our exhibitors.

"We will strive to make sure that there are enough cross sections of product line for everyone to see and test."

Already, 72 per cent of exhibitors have committed to return for the 2016 Airshow.

The next big project for organisers is the World Airport Expo, which will be held from February 4 to 6 in 2015.

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