OVER the next five days, the idyllic island Langkawi will shift gear to accommodate some 180,000 visitors and 162 aircraft and ships landing here for the 14th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) 2017.
Although the event kicks off today, all the hotels and guest houses on the island have already been fully booked weeks earlier.
This will be the biggest exhibition ever as Lima 2013 and Lima 2015 registered only 122 and 146 aircraft and ships respectively.
While the previous two exhibitions in 2013 and 2015 registered 174,112 and 179,161 in trade and public visitors respectively, Lima 2017 expects to draw over 180,000, comprising 40,000 trade and about 140,000 public visitors to the five-day event.
A total of 555 exhibitors from 36 countries are participating this year, compared to 512 from 36 countries and 433 from 31 countries at Lima 2015 and Lima 2013.
The exhibition this year covers a space of 119,209 sq m, a significant increase from 2015 of only 104,209 sq m.
Air show enthusiasts will be in for a treat as the Russian Knights, who were last here in Lima 2013, are coming back to wow the crowd with their spanking new Flanker-Cs, or the Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets.
Painted in white, blue and red, the newly equipped team will be making their foreign debut at Lima 2017.
The aerial display will start from 12.30pm to 2.30pm today, Wednesday and Thursday.
There will be two aerial display sessions each on Friday and Saturday from 10am to 12pm and 2.30pm to 4.30m.
Among the other firsts will be a display of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
These will include the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator by the United States Air Force, the US Navy’s Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout, the Thales Fulmar UAV by Thales Group, the AUV62-AT by SAAB and others.
Other events during Lima 2017 include the Asean Aviation Summit 2017, Air Chiefs Conference 2017, Chief of Navy Roundtable Talks, the Asia-Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies Conference, the Czech Defence Technology Presentation, various talks and others.
The exhibitions and displays for the aerospace segment will be held at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre while the maritime segment will take place at Resort World Langkawi.
The exhibitions and demonstrations are open to public on Friday and Saturday, the last two days of the exhibition from 9am to 4pm.
The first three days are for delegates and trade visitors only.
The maritime and warship static exhibition at the resort, however, is open to the public beginning tomorrow from 8am to 6.30pm.
Entrance to the Mahsuri centre is RM10 per visitor while it is free at the resort.
Held biennially since 1991, Lima 2017 is jointly-organised by the Defence Ministry and EN Projects (M) Sdn Bhd, with the support of the Transport Ministry, International Trade and Industry Ministry, Tourism and Culture Ministry, Youth Ministry, Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Malaysian Air Force, the Malaysian Army, the Royal Malaysian Police, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Fire and Rescue Department and the Royal Malaysian Customs.