SINGAPORE: The organiser of the Singapore Airshow plans to sell fewer tickets to the public as part of measures against the novel coronavirus, as it confirmed more than 70 participating companies have pulled out.
Experia Events managing director Leck Chet Lam said he expects ticket sales to be “significantly less than half” compared to the previous edition of the airshow in 2018, which attracted nearly 80,000 public visitors over two days.
“We are looking at how we can have a smaller public day attendance,” he told reporters on Sunday (Feb 9), adding that there is also an idea to sell less tickets "so that the attendance will be controlled.”
He did not say how many public day tickets have currently been sold or what the allocation is.
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When asked what will happen to existing ticket holders if the limit is exceeded, Mr Leck said the organiser will “work it out” with them.
“That’s also part of looking at the situation and making sure we take care of the well-being of people who are attending the show,” he added.
Mr Leck also revealed that more than 70 participating companies have pulled out of attending the airshow, although he said this represents less than eight per cent of the initial turnout.
Nineteen exhibitors have confirmed they are not attending, including US defence contractor Lockheed Martin. This means there will be 10 to 15 fewer static aircraft displays than the 45 in 2018, Mr Leck said.
This comes after Singapore on Friday raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level to Orange, as authorities announced three new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 40.
Under the new DORSCON level, organisers of large events should take necessary precautions such as carrying out temperature screening, looking out for respiratory symptoms like cough or runny nose, and denying entry to unwell individuals.
The Ministry of Health had also urged organisers to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events.
AIRSHOW WILL GO ON
When asked if the airshow will be cancelled if the DORSCON level was raised to the maximum Red, Mr Leck said the organiser will refer to guidelines by the relevant authorities.
As for now, Mr Leck said the airshow – which he described as an “important node” in the global aviation industry – will go on.
“Our responsibility is to still carry on with the show so exhibitors and trade visitors continue to have a platform to meet and talk about business opportunities,” he said.
“Those who have pulled out, we respect their decision. Those who chose to come, we also respect it, and how we respect that is we put all the necessary preventive measures on site to make sure their well-being is taken care of.”
As part of measures against the outbreak, the organiser has implemented seat tagging for all seated events to facilitate contact tracing, and temperature screening at Singapore Expo and Changi Exhibition Centre access points.
The organiser also encourages alternative greetings among attendees like waving or bowing, instead of the conventional handshake.
This is in addition to measures like more frequent cleaning, having doctors and medics on site, and making hand sanitisers available.
Mr Leck said the public will have to “make their own decisions” on whether they should buy a ticket.
“But if they choose to come to the show, we have put all the precautionary measures in place,” he added.