COVID-19 cans China airshow

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China’s International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, the country’s biggest airshow, is postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, show organisers said.

The airshow was scheduled to take place in the southern city Zhuhai in mid-November. Organisers would announce new dates later, according to a statement on the show website, which added health and safety considerations led to the postponement.

The biennial event usually draws key suppliers – such as Airbus, Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) – and is traditionally used by Beijing to show off its growing aviation capability, including military fighters and drones.

The postponement comes as foreigners are largely barred from entering China over concerns about importing coronavirus cases. There are also severe restrictions on international flights.

This year’s largest aerospace expo, Britain’s Farnborough Airshow, was cancelled because of travel curbs and an industry downturn resulting from the pandemic.

Many Western aerospace companies reduced budgets and some were not planning to attend the Zhuhai air show if it went ahead, company sources told Reuters.