(Adds details on airshow, Pentagon, background)
By Mike Stone
WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - U.S. weapons maker Lockheed Martin Co said on Thursday it will reduce its attendance at the Singapore Airshow because of the coronavirus outbreak in China, and a U.S. official said the Pentagon was considering a similar move.
The Singapore Airshow, Asia’s biggest aerospace gathering, will go ahead as planned next week despite the outbreak that has led to some firms withdrawing, organizers said on Tuesday.
“Following the World Health Organization guidance, there are a limited number of personnel traveling to the Singapore Air Show to maintain our presence,” a Lockheed Martin representative said.
Ellen Lord, the official responsible for buying weapons in the Trump administration, is currently set to attend the show as the lead Pentagon representative, an official said. A decision on the size of the U.S. delegation could come as soon as Thursday, the official said.
The trade portion of the airshow, held every two years, is set to begin on Feb. 11 under the shadow of the virus outbreak that has prompted measures by several nations, including Singapore, to contain its spread.
The death toll in mainland China has risen to 563, with more than 28,000 infections also confirmed inside China.
Business jet manufacturers Bombardier Inc,, Textron Inc and General Dynamics Corp’s Gulfstream division are among those that have pulled out of the airshow.
However, Boeing and Airbus, among the biggest exhibitors, said on Tuesday that they still plan to attend.
The lower attendance at the airshow, which is used as a barometer of the industry’s health, is a poor omen for a sector grappling with a sharp fall in travel demand since the coronavirus outbreak. (Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Grant McCool)