With president Sebastián Piñera in attendance, the sixteenth version of the International Air and Space Show (FIDAE), considered the most important aeronautical exhibit in the Southern Cone of America, was inaugurated today.
The ceremony was marked by expressions of solidarity and a call for national unity by the president, with a view to overcoming as rapidly as possible the problems resulting from the mega-earthquake that affected Chile at the end of February. The earthquake was followed by a tsunami that left major localities along the coastline of the country in ruins.
“I consider it very appropriate that the air and space show has been re-baptized ‘the Fidae for solidarity’, and I would add that it is also the Fidae for hope and national unity. These two conditions are very necessary for our country to be able to successfully face the challenges that lie ahead”, indicated the head of state.
The money collected from the public attending the exhibit, which will be open from today up till March 28 at the Pudahuel Airport, is earmarked to benefit the victims of the earthquake. This situation was confirmed by the commander-in-chief of the Chilean Air Force (FACH), general Ricardo Ortega, who a few days ago and during the 80th anniversary celebration of the FACH indicated that “the Fidae for solidarity” will go to help those affected by the disaster.
Among the main attractions for the attending public is the F22-Raptor of the United States Air Force, the most modern combat aircraft in the world. This is the second time it leaves the U.S., the first being in 2008 when it participated in the Farnborough air show in Great Britain. The cost of just one of these airplanes is estimated at slightly more than US$ 200 million, including radars and missiles.
It will also be possible to appreciate the latest advances in civil, commercial and defense aeronautics, with the participation of around 420 companies from 39 different countries, among them Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Israel, Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Spain, the United States and Korea.