Helicopters and private jets are exhibited during the Singapore Airshow on February 7, 2018. The Singapore Airshow, Asia's largest aerospace and defence event, takes place from February 6 to 11. AFP Photo

EARLY last month, I had the opportunity to attend the Singapore Airshow 2018 held at the Changi Exhibition Centre. What a magnificent event that was. It was a real eye opener for me as I had never been to an airshow before.

Malaysia has its own version of this. The Langkawi International Maritime &Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) has been held at the idyllic island of Langkawi for many years now. From news reports, the airshow attracted plenty of attention, both from aerospace players as well as members of the public.

I stood in the blistering afternoon heat of Singapore, together with hundreds of spectators and watched fighter jets streak through the sky, performing stunts that I had only ever seen in the movies. Visions of a young Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun came to my mind as I watched these planes perform the most impossible of manoeuvres.

Reports suggested that although the Singapore Airshow did not generate aircraft orders from any of the major commercial jet manufacturers, it did attract record visitor numbers, with trade visitors up more than 10 per cent compared with 2016.

The Singapore Airshow is touted as being Asia’s biggest airshow. It plays an important role in the growing aerospace market, facilitating meetings and attracting large numbers of important aerospace players.

In Malaysia, the aerospace industry represents one of the fastest growing sectors of the market. These industry players require large manufacturing and warehouse space. The logistics industry is also closely linked to the aerospace industry, helping it to move goods from one point to another.

In recent months, much attention has been generated by the KLIA Aeropolis. Malaysia Airports aims to transform Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from a transportation hub into a centre of economic activity, serving not only passengers but also businesses and shippers. Their marketing brochure has an interesting quote from John D. Kasarda, “The 21st century was about cities building airports. The 21st century will be about airports building cities”.

Whenever I am in klia2, I always wonder whether I am in an airport or a shopping centre. There is so much to see and do, that I always feel I am in a regular downtown shopping centre. However, I am seldom able to walk leisurely looking at stuff as I am always rushing to find my plane, which I am inevitably a few minutes late for.

Back to the Singapore Airshow. Outside the exhibition hall, there were displays of fighter jets, helicopters, tanks and the like. If you wanted, you could get onboard one of these, and have your photo taken. I eagerly took the opportunity and got on board on fighter jet, proudly giving a thumbs-up to the photographer. I am in awe of these fighter jet pilots. Not just for their ability to fly these planes, but also for the agility and dexterity they must have to be able to slide into and get out of those narrow cockpits. I struggled to get into one of these. And as soon as I was comfortably in the seat, the only thing I could think of was how I was ever going to get out.

The Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition is in our own backyard. It is held once every two years. The next event is slated for next year. I strongly urge everyone to go and visit this airshow, especially if you have never been to one of these before. The exhibitors who participate in the event exhibit their products inside the purpose-built Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre, which is located just adjacent to the Langkawi International Airport. The maritime exhibitions are at the Resorts World Langkawi. The aerospace exhibitions take place at the Langkawi International Airport. All the venues are located close to each other.

Go and attend the next LIMA. Take some time to go around Langkawi and enjoy the island. It’s a magical place. And while you are there, see if you can source for some properties to buy as an investment. I am confident that by renting your properties to tourists and holiday-makers, you will be able to achieve healthy returns on your investment.

Till then, happy hunting and may the force be with you.

Siva Shanker is a real estate practitioner who is passionate about the property market. His views are frank and honest. He tries to manage the labyrinth of the property market honestly while consistently maintaining a high standard of ethics in his practice of the profession. Siva welcomes feedback via siva@miea.com.my.

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