Airshow China schedule unchanged despite COVID-19, major improvement expected

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/31 19:53:40

Two J-20s howling through the sky with their missile bays open, each showcasing six missiles as the stealth fighter jets celebrated the 69th birthday of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force on the last day of the Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province on Sunday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT


While several air shows around the world have been cancelled due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) pandemic, the most important one in China, the Airshow China, remains set to take place in November, and will be "considerably different and significantly improved" from previous editions, the organizer said on Monday. 

Since the start of the epidemic, the organizer of the air show actively communicated with partnering organizations to ensure previous participants are still coming, and also to seek out new ones. More than 400 companies from countries and regions including Germany, Russia, France, the US, Sweden, Ukraine and the UK, as well as Chinese companies, have already confirmed participation in the 2020 edition of the air show, the organizer announced in a statement released in its WeChat public account on Monday.

More flight performances from military aerobatics teams are also being arranged. In addition to the Chinese Air Force's August 1st Air Demonstration Team, the Russian Knights aerobatic demonstration team of the Russian Aerospace Forces will hopefully also join the exhibition, the organizer said, noting that ground equipment shows will also see more real-combat oriented and professional performances that fully display the capabilities of tanks and armored vehicles compared to previous editions.

All related work is being carried out to ensure the exhibition will be held from November 10-15 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province as planned, it said. Traders and public visitors will be able to book tickets on the air show's website, but the ticket buying function is not yet online.

About 450,000 visitors participated in the biannual show in 2018, which also lasted for six days, according to the air show's website.

Many other air shows have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, raising concerns among aviation fans and military enthusiasts that the Airshow China could also be scrapped.

Analysts said the organizer's statement was a positive sign, as the Airshow China is China's largest aerospace exhibition and has great significance for the local government, Chinese aviation and aerospace companies and the Chinese Air Force.

During Airshow China 2018, a domestically developed J-10B fighter jet equipped with a brand new thrust vector control-capable engine made its debut flight performance, and the country's most advanced fighter jet, the J-20, showcased its weapon bays and missiles also for the first time. This has set high expectations for this year's exhibition, with military enthusiasts hoping to see the likes of J-20s equipped with homemade engines and an upgraded version of the FC-31 fighter jet.

However, analysts also pointed out that the pandemic situation is not over yet, and November is a time when diseases usually begin to occur, so it is still not certain that the Airshow China 2020 can be held as planned.

Global Times


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