Chinese aerobatics team to perform at Singapore Airshow after 'careful consideration' by authorities

Chinese aerobatics team to perform at Singapore Airshow after 'careful consideration' by authorities

Bayi Aerobatic Team
Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF)'s Bayi Aerobatic Team attends a test flight ahead of the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, or Zhuhai Airshow in Zhuhai, Nov 3, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

SINGAPORE: An aerobatics team from China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will perform at this year's Singapore Airshow after careful consideration by the Singapore authorities, airshow organiser Experia Events said.

"The Chinese personnel’s participation was surfaced to the relevant Government authorities, and upon careful consideration and medical assessment, it was decided that they could continue to participate at Singapore Airshow 2020," a spokesperson told CNA on Wednesday (Feb 5).

CNA has contacted the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore for comment.

This comes after the Government announced more stringent travel restrictions on Jan 31 to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak in Singapore, which has seen 28 confirmed cases so far.

Under the latest measures, new visitors of any nationality with recent travel history to mainland China will not be allowed entry or transit in Singapore.

In addition, those with Chinese passports, with the exception of Singapore permanent residents and long-term pass holders, will not be allowed to enter Singapore.

READ: Wuhan coronavirus: Singapore Airshow organiser 'undoubtedly' expects fewer exhibitors, visitors

The Ba Yi - or August 1st - aerobatics team had taken "proactive measures" like health checks and temperature screenings to ensure they were healthy before flying into Singapore, the Experia Events spokesperson said.

"These measures were in place even before Singapore imposed restrictions on travellers from Hubei," the spokesperson stated, adding that the Chinese crew had also gone through temperature screening upon arrival.

The spokesperson clarified that the Chinese personnel are "military personnel who live on bases and have been conducting regular health checks and regular temperature monitoring".

"They are taking all necessary precautionary measures in line with existing guidelines while they are in Singapore," the spokesperson added.

The August 1st team of seven J-10 performance aircraft and two Il-76 transport aircraft landed in Singapore's Changi Airport on Wednesday afternoon, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, defence commentator Mike Yeo tweeted his concerns regarding the aerobatics team's participation after reports of a PLAAF aircraft landing in Singapore.

"I wonder if the organisers of the (Singapore Airshow), (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and/or (Ministry of Health) would like to comment on the decision-making process that allowed a PLAAF aircraft based 220km west of Wuhan to come into Singapore to attend an airshow?" he wrote.

In a subsequent tweet, defence analyst Kelvin Wong said the PLAAF aircraft in question is an IL-76 military transport aircraft, adding that the jets are operated by units based in Wuhan-Paozhuwan and Dangyang, both located in Hubei province.

Experia Events had earlier said on Wednesday that the Ba Yi team would fly for the first time at the show, adding that there will be five flying display performances from three countries.

Air forces from Singapore and the United States will also perform in the segment, which the organiser says has always been a crowd favourite.

READ: South Korea's Black Eagles, 16 exhibitors cancel appearances at Singapore Airshow

But on Monday, the South Korean air force’s aerobatic team, the Black Eagles, confirmed it was pulling out of the airshow, citing a government-wide effort to contain the virus.

This year's Singapore Airshow will run from Feb 11 to 16.

"I would usually be mad excited about the presence of August 1st and their support aircraft at the Singapore Airshow," Mr Yeo tweeted. "But this (sic) are not normal times."

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Source: CNA/hz(rw)

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