Airshow China 2020 cancelled, re-instated, then cancelled again

ZHUHAI | The China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, the Chinese aviation industry’s biggest showcase event, has been indefinitely postponed because of the coronavirus.

Photo: Tom Wittevrongel

The major trade event was due to be held on the 10th-15th October 2020 at Jinwan Airport in Zhuhai, with organisers previously confident that the show would go ahead. However, on September 9th, the Reuters news agency quoted an official spokesperson saying the event had been cancelled. Shortly afterwards, a second spokesperson said the show would be going ahead, and pressured media organisations into deleting stories about the cancellation.

Organisers said the decision was taken “after careful consideration regarding the health of our guests and exhibitors” – although, in practice, China’s continuing ban on international visitors would have been a major obstacle to the show taking place.

They added that they were “fully confident” that the 13th edition of Airshow China will “take place soon.”

While the airshow attracts over 400 aerospace companies to participate in its trade exhibition, Airshow China is best-known for its flying displays – often the only occasion during which China can showcase its burgeoning aerospace and defence industries to an international audience. The event is also of huge domestic significence, attracting up to half a million spectators and being featured heavily on TV news.

This year’s show was due to feature the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s main aerobatic team, August 1st, as well as Airshow China regular participants, the Russian Knights. China’s two 5th generation fighters were also keenly awaited participants: the Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon and the Shenyang FC-31, the latter still in the flight testing phase of its development.