If the number of visitors is anything to go by, Lima will stay for many more years
AS the sun set on this legendary island, workers were busy removing a host of things, from display items to the detritus that comes from exhibitions, from the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC).
Gone were the crowds of exhibitors, trade visitors and members of the public. Gone were the hundreds and thousands of servicemen and women.
The same scene was being played out at the maritime segment of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) 2017 exhibition.
Soon, all the aircraft, ships and smaller craft will be gone as well, leaving Langkawi to the locals and tourists.
For five days, it could be said that the world converged on this tiny and scenic island for one of the biggest shows — if not the biggest — in the Asia-Pacific region. And, what a show it was.
Almost all manner of aircraft and vessels were on display on the tarmac in front of MIEC and in the waters surrounding Resorts World Langkawi.
At the latter, visitors were given boat rides to view the ships, like the Royal Malaysian Navy and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency ships, the United States Navy’s littoral combat ship USS Coronado, the Royal Australian Navy patrol HMAS Layncheston and the Italian Navy frigate ITS Carabiniere.
At MIEC, the crowds were thrilled by aerial displays by the likes of the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s F/A-18D Hornet and Sukhoi SU-30MKM Flanker, both powering through the air, with the latter also showing its amazing ability to seemingly stop and hover in midair.
They were also entertained by Tentera Nasional IndonesiaAngkatan Udara aerobatics team Jupiter, the up-and-coming South Korean team Black Eagles and the world famous Russian Knights, who debuted their new SU-30SM Flanker-C, not to mention the Dassault Aviation Rafale multi-role combat aircraft and the Saab Gripen.
In the exhibition centres, there were the old familiar faces of BAE Systems, Boeing, Airbus, Thales, Rosoboronexport and Russian companies like RUAG, Kongsberg, DCNS and Lurssen, alongside Malaysian companies like SME Ordnance, Boustead Holdings and, of course, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.
But there were also a number of companies that had never taken part in the show before.
In truth, the show had grown since its last edition two years ago. There was an increase of about 40 per cent in space bookings
MARCH 26, 2017 and an increase in the amount of money spent by the Defence Ministry.
While the ministry signed RM2.71 billion worth of deals at Lima 2015, this time around, they inked agreements worth more than RM3.82 billion, a significant increase indeed.
And, if the number of visitors is anything to go by, Lima is here to stay for many, many more years.
In the first three days of the exhibition, there were 45,000 trade visitors.
The fourth day saw almost 130,000 public visitors.
As life on the island returns to normal, one thing can be rest assured — the madness, albeit a welcome one, will return in two years.
The crowd on the last day of Lima 2017.