Sywell Aerodrome cancels popular airshow due to '˜increase in aviation fees'

Aircraft enthusiasts from across Northamptonshire will be without one of their calendar's key dates after Sywell Aerodrome announced its popular airshow will not take place this year.

Wednesday, 10th February 2016, 1:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2016, 7:04 am
Action from 2014's airshow. Photo by Ellis Usher.

The biennial show often attracts sell-out crowds and raises thousands of pounds for the air ambulance service.

A tweet from Sywell Airshow suggested that one of the main reasons for the cancellation was the likely introduction of higher Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) fees.

Organisers have said they hope a smaller event will be held at the aerodrome in the summer.

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A short statement on the Sywell Aerodrome website said: “Following many inquiries it is with regret that we would like to confirm that the biennial Sywell Airshow will not be taking place in 2016.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have supported us over the years and helped us raise many thousands of pounds for the air ambulance and other deserving charities.

“Hopefully Sywell Airshow may return at some point in the future but in the meantime we hope that there will be a smaller, more intimate, event in August.

“Keep an eye on the Sywell Aerodrome website for details.

“With best wishes from the Sywell Airshow Team.”

Celebrities including Carol Vorderman have voiced their support for Sywell Airshow on Twitter.

The TV presenter tweeted: “A sad day. But it is not too late to stop these ludicrous proposed charges #SaveOurAirshows.”

To sign a petition asking the CAA to rethink their charges, click here.

The CAA declined to comment on the cancellation of the airshow.

A CAA spokesperson said: “Our current charges consultation for air displays is based on two factors; firstly, that the regulation of air shows has historically been subsidised by other aviation industry charge payers and ultimately their passengers.

“Secondly, the charges reflect the increased costs of implementing the additional safety activities outlined in the recent air display action report.

“Safety is our first priority and we believe these additional measures are necessary to further improve the safety of air displays.

“We are not funded by the tax-payer and are required by law to recover our costs from the aviation industry.

“Each year we consult on our proposed charges, providing an opportunity for interested parties to outline their views.

“Our research shows that the proposed fees to cover the cost of our regulatory and safety work would mean an increase of just a few pence per ticket for some small air display events and less than 20 pence for one of the largest based on the most recent attendance figures.

“The current cost of entry to these shows for the general public can be in the region of £20 to £50 per day.”