Chinese Air Force's Ba Yi Aerobatics Team will take part in flying displays at Singapore Airshow (February 11-16) for the first time, even as ten exhibitors backed out owing to Coronavirus fears.
"In accordance with the consensus between China and Singapore, the Ba Yi Aerobatics Team assigned to the Air Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will perform at the Singapore Airshow upon invitation from February 5 to 18, 2020," China's Ministry of Defense said in a statement Wednesday.
This year’s Singapore Airshow will see a total of five flying display performances from three countries.
“Flying for the first time in Singapore are China’s PLA Air Force aerobatics team Ba Yi, the United States Marine Corps’ F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, and the United States Pacific Air Forces’ F-22 Raptor,” airshow organizer Experia Events said. Returning to Singapore Airshow 2020 is the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s integrated aerial display team of an F-15SG fighter jet and two AH-64D attack helicopters. The United States Air Force’s B-52 Stratofortress will also be performing a flyover on 15 February.
South Korea's Black Eagles aerobatics team confirmed non-participation at the airshow on Monday. A day later, ten exhibitors from China and five more from three other countries (US- Gulfstream, Textron Aviation; Canada- CAE, Bombardier; Germany- Stemme) also pulled out of participators' list.
China's Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) which is currently working on CRAIC CR929 250-to-350 seat wide-body twinjet airliner, is one of the Chinese companies to drop out of the event. The others are Zhuhai Airshow Company, United Enterprise Group, Ampaire Inc, Acevision, Ameco Beijing, Beijing Implant Science & Technology, China Aviation Industrial Base, China National Aero-Technology Import & Export, and Shandong Stopart Brake Materials.
A total of nine planes and 100-odd personnel from the Chinese PLA Air force will take part in the airshow, the ministry said.
More than two dozen countries have confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV virus. Over 28,000 cases of the Coronavirus infection have been reported and 560 deaths confirmed in mainland China alone.
Major Chinese arms manufacturers, including those working on the third aircraft carrier and the J-15 fighter jets have stopped work indefinitely owing to fears of spreading the deadly virus. Several western aerospace and defense companies- Airbus, Boeing and Safran, have also shut down facilities in China.
The outbreak has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a global health emergency, several governments to impose travel restrictions, and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.