The widespread impact the COVID-19 virus has had upon the aviation industry continues as the UK’s two largest air shows of the year have been cancelled.
The world-famous Farnborough International Airshow, set to take place between July 20-24, along with the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, which was scheduled for July 17-19 were both announced as cancelled on March 20.
A press statement issued by Farnborough’s organisers said:
“It is with great regret that we announce the Farnborough International Airshow 2020, due to take place in July, is cancelled.
After very careful consideration, the unprecedented impact of the global coronavirus pandemic has forced this decision in the interests of the health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors, contractors and staff.
“This decision was reached taking into consideration several major factors surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19, all of which we have concluded, make it impossible for us to create and host the Airshow this July.
“We understand this news will be an incredible disappointment to all across the international aerospace industry, not to mention our important exhibitors, suppliers and visitors. We at Farnborough International share your disappointment that we are unable to present the Airshow as planned, but rest assured, we are determined to continue to work together and will ensure the Farnborough International Airshow returns in 2022 better than ever.”
The Air Tattoo statement, issued at noon on March 20, said:
“It is with enormous regret and disappointment that we have to announce the cancellation of this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo, due to take place from 17 to 19 July, as a result of the challenging and unprecedented environment presented by COVID-19.
“This decision has not been taken lightly and a significant amount of work sits behind this course of action. The crisis, which is worsening by the day, and the implications of which are becoming more profound, has led us to conclude that the most prudent course of action is to cease any further planning to deliver this significant event.
“The Air Tattoo is reliant on the support of a wide range of stakeholders, not least the participation of international air arms, medical professionals, military security teams and our Emergency Services, many of whom are delivering a fundamental contribution to fighting this crisis. We believe delivery of our event would distract them from this.
“At the heart of this difficult decision is our firm belief that staging the Air Tattoo this year would not only run counter to the current Government advice but would also be beyond what we could reasonably ask of our supporters. We recognise that our decision will have a negative financial impact on our valued suppliers and traders, on the local economy that benefits so much from the large influx of people who arrive in the area for one week in July, as well as on our parent charity. For this we apologise.
“We would like to thank all our partners, the RAF, USAF, sponsors, the world’s air forces, our amazing volunteers and of course the public who turn up year on year to support our magnificent event. We seek your patience and encouragement over the next few weeks as we plan for the future in order to return in 2021 to celebrate the Air Tattoo’s 50th Anniversary.”