Coronavirus: Lockheed Martin pulls out of Singapore Airshow

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3-min read
Singapore's Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen visiting the aircrew from the People's Liberation Army Air Force Ba Yi aerobatics team at Changi Airbase. (PHOTO: Ministry of Defence)
Singapore's Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen visiting the aircrew from the People's Liberation Army Air Force Ba Yi aerobatics team at Changi Airbase. (PHOTO: Ministry of Defence)

SINGAPORE — United States weapons maker Lockheed Martin has pulled out of the 11-16 February Singapore Airshow, after concerns over the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In a media statement released on Friday (7 February), the company said, “Following the Singapore Ministry of Health’s 7 February declaration of a Code Orange health alert, we consulted with the US government and our medical teams and decided not to participate in the Singapore Airshow.

"We determined this was in the best interest of our employees and aligned with the U.S. Department of Defence’s decision to reduce its presence.”

Lockheed Martin’s withdrawal follows news from the Pentagon that it will reduce the size of its delegation travelling to the Singapore Airshow in light of the coronavirus concerns.

According to people familiar with the matter, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer Ellen Lord will no longer attend the event as the lead Pentagon representative.

The Singapore Airshow has been hit by a series of withdrawals due to the coronavirus situation in the country. Business jet manufacturers Bombardier, Textron and General Dynamics' Gulfstream division are among the companies that have pulled out of the airshow.

Chinese aerobatics team undergone ‘stringent tests’: Ng

On Friday, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ba Yi team aerobatics team – scheduled to perform at the Singapore Airshow – had undergone “stringent tests” before they were cleared to be at the event.

“They had taken extra precautions for everyone, every member of the delegation that meet our criteria to make sure that they are healthy, well and they have passed all health checks,” Ng said on the sidelines of a visit to the Changi Airbase, where he met some participants of the aerobatics display.

“I am very happy that they are here and that they put in so much effort. It is a measure of how strong our relationship is. And you know, this phrase, good friends stick through thick and thin, and I want to thank both the US as well as the Chinese military for being with us in this airshow.”

Member of the public had expressed concerns about the Ba Yi team’s participation in the airshow, given Singapore’s travel restrictions on visitors from China following the coronavirus outbreak.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said on Thursday that the team will go for regular health and temperature monitoring during its stay in Singapore.

Ng, who met with aircrew from the Republic of Singapore Air Force, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Pacific Air Forces and the Ba Yi team, said that it is natural for the public to be concerned.

“We had been very careful and PLA had been particularly careful that they observe all requirements that were needed to be healthy,” he said.

“We must be prepared for ups and downs, but at the same time, make sure that Singapore keeps going.”

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