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Airshow Notes: No Big New Orders, But Lots of Buzz

Much has gone as expected at the Singapore Airshow - no big new orders. Regardless, there were certainly a lot of announcements coming from all corners of the globe.

Here's a quick summary of what happened today, and my take on them.

1. Boeing 787-3 Almost-Dead?

The 787-3 was meant to be a short-haul version of the aircraft. And it was designed specifically for the Japanese market. Yet, till date, Boeing has not received any orders for this variant of the aircraft. Speaking to media on Tuesday at the Singapore Airshow, Boeing VP of Marketing Randy Tinseth said that he "can't imagine it" going in production. What will be interesting to watch is if in the future any U.S.-based airlines order some for trans-U.S. flights and whether Boeing restarts the program.

2. Garuda Indonesia on a Roll

When I interviewed the CEO, Emirsyah Satar, on CNBC, I sensed immense will to overcome challenges like safety issues and the financial climate. Garuda will be the second airline to have an IPO this year, after Tiger Airways, and they will be re-launching flights to Europe too, including Amsterdam, London and Paris. All flights will initially be on the A330 planes, via Dubai.

So, what if Garuda establishes a Dubai mini-hub? What about tie-ups with other airlines to drive traffic from Dubai to other regional cities. Maybe it makes sense now to consider joining an alliance as well. Though, the biggest challenge right now will be to fill the planes in Europe, since the safety perception of Garuda is still not the best, due to its past crashes.

3. Business Aviation Focus on Asia

One of the highlights of the Singapore Airshow has been the large number of business jets on display here. Traditionally, they've been popular in the US and Europe, but now Asians seem to be catching up. Already, India has more business jets than commercial planes. Abu Dhabi has recently converted a city-center airstrip into a plush business jets airport. This is a space I'm keen to watch.

4. Bring on the Canadians!

Bombardier is making its presence felt in Singapore. The Q400 regional jet is here, the G5000 Business Jet is wowing visitors with its plush leather toilet seats and there's a lot of talk about the C-Series. In a press conference, Kevin Smith, their head marketer talked about selling over 6000 C-series jets over the next 20 years! Now that's a lot of Bombardiers flying around by 2030!

5. Don't Read Too Much into SIA's Profits

After two consecutive quarterly losses, Singapore Airlines returned to the blackin its third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, posting a S$403.7 million ($286.1 million) profit that marked a 19.7% increase from the S$337.2 million earned in the year-ago period. Most of the gains have been made by cutting salaries, fuel-hedging and grounding inefficient planes. The Boeing 747-400 did its last flight to Australia on Feb 1.

Though, looking out to the future, Singapore Airlines needs to get more innovative with the product and service. Yes, they have an impeccable brand, but with the likes of Air New Zealand introducing economy class seats that turn into beds, and AirAsia X introducing a long-haul flat bed, Singapore Airlines needs to buck up a little if they are to sustain their profits.

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The youngest winner of Global Brand Leadership Award, Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying.com, an award winning blog on airline branding. He tweets at @simpliflying and helps airlines, airports drive revenue and loyalty through social media conversations.