Air show fees worry for resort bosses

Blackpool Air Show
Blackpool Air Show
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Organisers of the Blackpool Air Show are checking the fine print to see how new rulings may affect this year’s show.

In the wake of last year’s Shoreham Hawker Hunter crash, the aviation regulator has tightened up procedures and increased safety charges which has caused some UK shows to be cancelled.

But organisers believe that the regulation does not apply to the seaside show as the action takes place over water rather than land.

The Civil Aviation Authority has increased the minimum altitude at which ex-military jets can perform aerobatic manoeuvres and increased the minimum distance of separation between a civil display and a crowd.

Safety fees are to increase and larger displays could face a rise from £2,695 to more than £20,000.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We have always said that the safety of everybody involved in the air show is our number one priority and we will take all the recommendations from the Civil Aviation Authority’s report on board.

“Where the Shoreham tragedy took place over land, the Blackpool Air Show takes place over the sea and limitations of flying distances for planes should not impact on the spectacle of the show.

“At this stage, we don’t know exactly what the financial implications will be and we need to take a close look at the finer details and recommendations of the report to understand how that will work. In the meantime, we are preparing for another safe and enjoyable air show this summer.”

Dame Deirdre Hutton, chairman of the CAA, said: “While we recognise implementing these changes will require significant work from the air show community, we believe they are essential to enhancing the safety of UK air shows and safety must always be the top priority.”

Steps taken after Shoreham, such as grounding all Hawker Hunter aircraft and banning ex-military jets from aerobatics over land, will stay until the accident report.