For the first time in the event’s 38 year history, the organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo have cancelled Saturday’s air show, following recent bad weather conditions which have left the Fairford, Gloucestershire site heavily waterlogged.
Announcing the news in a statement issued late on 11 July, Air Tattoo director Tim Prince said: “It is with great regret that we had to take the decision to cancel the air show on the Saturday, but the safety of the public is paramount. We could not guarantee the safety of the many thousands of people who had bought tickets.”
The decision was attributed to “the unusually heavy rainfall during the past 72 hours”, the statement said. This had left standing water across the show site and turned public grass car parks into quagmires following a high attendance at Fairford for the Queen’s presentation of new colours to the Royal Air Force earlier today (E-3D Sentry pictured below at the show).
© Craig Hoyle/Flight International
With the weather forecast for 12 July appearing better, RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises said: “It is anticipated that the show will be held on Sunday, but it will be only for holders of tickets valid for Sunday.” A final decision will be taken before 4pm on Saturday.
The cancellation will come as a huge disappointment for many of the 165,000 visitors which had been expected to attend the RIAT event over the weekend, and is also likely to hit the organiser’s financial contribution to the RAF Charitable Trust for this year.