GOOD SHOW

If the num­ber of vis­i­tors is any­thing to go by, Lima will stay for many more years

New Straits Times - - News -

LANGKAWI

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.

PIC BY DA­NIAL SAAD

The crowd on the last day of Lima 2017.

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