Highlights from Singapore Airshow 2023: Did COMAC outshine Airbus and Boeing?

Singapore Airshow highlights

As the business end of Singapore Airshow 2024 draws to an end, it’s the turn of the general public to feast on a weekend of aerobatic flying displays and get up close to all the latest commercial and military aircraft on display. 

From Day One of the airshow on February 20, 2024, through to February 23, 2024, almost 60,000 attendees passed through the Changi Exhibition Centre. 

Though the Singapore Airshow may have lacked the blockbuster orders of Paris and Dubai, there were still plenty of deals being finalized and announced. 

Perhaps the biggest talking point was the presence of Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), with some speculating that Singapore Airshow 2024 may have been the moment plane manufacturing became a three-horse race. 

So, let’s look back at the key highlights that got everyone in the aviation industry talking. 

COMAC makes its mark on the aviation stage with Tibet Airlines order 

After wowing audiences with the first C919 display at an international airshow, COMAC announced that it had secured an order from Tibet Airlines. 

The order was for a highly respectable 50 aircraft, comprising 40 of the high-altitude variant of the C919 and 10 ARJ21 regional jets. 

Royal Brunei Airlines and Boeing extend 787 Dreamliner partnership  

Boeing generated some headlines by announcing that none of its aircraft would be on static display at this year’s airshow, but that certainly didn’t mean it was stepping away from any deals to be made.  

On the first day of the show, Royal Brunei Airlines and Boeing confirmed an order for four Boeing 787-9s. 

Thai Airways finally confirms order for Boeing jets

After weeks of rumors and insider reports, Thai Airways finally officially announced an order for 45 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.   

The order was finalized in December 2023 but then listed by Boeing as going to an undisclosed customer.     

STARLUX Airlines orders passenger and freighter aircraft mix 

The room was full of smiles as STARLUX Airlines and Airbus announced an order comprising both passenger and freighter aircraft.  

The order included five of the yet-to-fly Airbus A350F and three additional A330neo widebody aircraft. 

Thai Airways and AerCap agree lease for Boeing and Airbus jets  

In a genuinely surprising development, AerCap revealed that it would lease Thai Airways four Airbus A350-900s, three Boeing 787-9s and 10 Airbus A321neo aircraft.   

VietJet signs agreements for A330neo widebody aircraft and A321neo engines 

Vietnamese budget carrier VietJet Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for the purchase of 20 A330neo widebodies. 

This followed an earlier announcement at Singapore Airshow that VietJet had exercised options for an additional 19 firm Pratt & Whitney GTF-powered A321neo aircraft.  

Lilium signs agreement with PhilJets for 10 eVTOL aircraft 

EVTOL developer Lilium signed a MoU with PhilJets for the future purchase of 10 Lilium Jets.   

The two companies are working in partnership towards creating an eVTOL operation network across the Philippines, plus other Southeast Asia countries such as Cambodia. 

Pratt & Whitney to power 15 additional single-aisle aircraft for Cebu Pacific 

At what turned out to be a busy airshow for the manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, the company also confirmed that it is to provide engines for Cebu Pacific’s 10 A321neos and five A320neo aircraft. 

The 15 narrowbody jets are part of an order initially placed in 2019, which included 16 A330neo aircraft.   

Airbus signs MOU with Singapore economic board to build sustainable hub 

Airbus announced that it has entered a MoU with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) to launch the establishment of a Sustainable Aviation Hub, with a specific focus on technology, research and innovation. 

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