An event that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the East Sussex town of Eastbourne is under threat of closure and the Council wants the tourism economy to help foot the bill.
The Airbourne show which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Eastbourne will be grounded for good unless it can attract sufficient funding from supporters including businesses and the general public. While the 2022 event featuring dozens of aircraft and attractions is taking place from August 18 to August 21, it must run independent of any government funding thereafter. Should sufficient funding not be forthcoming the decision will be taken to ground the air show from 2023.
Eastbourne Borough Councillor Margaret Bannister, who is responsible for tourism and culture, confirmed the parlous state facing organisers of the free to access event. She said: “This really is the final boarding call for Airbourne. Rising costs of insurance and security over the years have increased the financial vulnerability of the show to such an extent that unless we can increase visitor donations and financial support from our local businesses, then we really do need to retire our biggest event of the year.”
Turning her attention to the experience of the last 18-months which saw the forced cancellation of Airbourne, she said: Covid-19 has had such a devastating effect upon the council’s finances that we can no longer support events financially unless they can support themselves.
“Airbourne has such a positive impact upon the town’s economy with hundreds of thousands of visitors over the four days, many of whom stay overnight. So we are asking those who enjoy visiting the show and the many businesses who benefit from tourism in Eastbourne to please dig deep and help Airbourne take flight in future years.”
Airbourne will celebrate 28 years of air show excellence in 2022. Attracting huge crowds, the International Airshow boasts a 2- mile flying display line along Eastbourne seafront. The 2019 edition saw high profile displays including those from the Breitling Jet Team, RAF Typhoon, Chinook, The Blades, Wingwalkers, The Tigers, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Ultimate Warbirds, and a MiG-15.