Airshow director talks of hopes for the future

High hopes for the future of Shoreham Airshow
High hopes for the future of Shoreham Airshow

SHOREHAM Airshow director Colin Baker has talked of hopes for the future, following the cancellation of this year’s event.

No firm plans can be made until the Civil Aviation Authority and Air Accidents Investigation Branch make their final reports.

Shoreham Airshow director Colin Baker with the Herald and Gazette Community Stars Award for best community event in 2014

Shoreham Airshow director Colin Baker with the Herald and Gazette Community Stars Award for best community event in 2014

But Shoreham Airshow Ltd, the holding company that has been responsible for the airshow since 2003, is looking ahead to next year with high hopes.

Mr Baker said: “There is a big step before than. What we have done is pay our due respects to all those affected by the tragedy by not doing an airhsow this year. Primarily that is the reason why we are not going to do 2016.

“When the time is right, later this year and maybe not until the end of the year, we will be able to put all the pieces of the jigsaw together and see where we can go and see if it can happen in 2017.”

On Wednesday afternoon, traders, volunteers and corporate hospitality team were advised of the decision not to go ahead in 2016. The decision was then made public on Thursday.

“We wanted them to know where we stood,” explained Mr Baker.

“People did understand the decision but we have had a lot of positive comments, asking for it come back as an even better show.

“An estimated 30,000 people come each year and they really enjoy it. The airfield is full of traders, food and drink and things to buy. It is like a great big garden party atmosphere and people do really enjoy it. It is good for Shoreham.

“We are keeping an open mind but there is a great aspiration to keep it going. We are thinking of it in much the same was it as always been, as that is a winning formula. Everybody loves it.

“We are thinking ahead as we go and are looking at plans to enhance the ticket style so we can improve the experience. The volunteers are all working so hard on things like ticket refunds and we don’t want our people to lose the initiative and inspiration for the airshow. They need a lift and a thank you, too.”

No-one involved will ever forget the moment the Hawker Hunter plane hit the A27 north of Shoreham Airport, leaving 11 men dead.

Mr Baker said: “The events of last year were dreadful. There was a stunned silence. As far as we the organisers are concerned, that is still with us and it is not going to go away. It must be far worse for the families.”

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