Battle of Britain Memorial Flight to return to Portrush!

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) have today released their schedule and they will be appearing at Portrush on Saturday 10th September 2022.

It has not yet been said what aircraft they intend to be bringing to the new Causeway Intenational Airshow, however the BBMF are always a very popular display. They currently display with an Avro Lancaster, one of only two still flying in the world. Spitfires, Hurricane and a Dakota, all of which are inconic WWII Aircraft.

It will be great to see the BBMF back in the skies of Northern Ireland displaying once again.

Red Arrows confirm return to Portrush.

The World Famous RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows have today released their schedule and have included the Saturday (10th September) of Portrush, now under the name Causeway International Airshow, on their 2022 schedule.

The RAF Red Arrows last displayed in Portrush in 2018 on the Sunday of the show. After 3 years without a show in Portrush, and with Northern Ireland coming out on the other end of the Covid pandemic, this is very welcome news.

Causeway International Airshow, Portrush, Northern Ireland takes place on September 10th and 11th in a new location along the coast between Portrush and Portstewart.

I look forward to seeing the Red Arrows in Portrush once again, and I am sure all of you do to.

Keep Festival of Flight flying

2 March 2022

AN appeal has been issued to Newry, Mourne and Down Council to ensure that next year’s international Festival of Flight in Newcastle goes ahead.

The move comes after it was revealed three weeks ago that the highly popular event, which was last held in 2019, would not take place this summer.

The decision to abort the festival was taken during a behind-closed-doors discussion during a meeting of the local authority’s Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism Committee.

Council officials say that due to the challenges in planning such a major festival, securing commitments from participants and with the uncertainty caused to date by the pandemic, organising this year’s event would not be possible.

DUP councillors Glyn Hanna and Kathryn Owen said confirmation that the festival would not take place this summer was “devastating” for local businesses, thousands of people who regularly attend the event and aviation enthusiasts.

They said they were “hugely disappointed” that the event would not go ahead, given its massive popularity and the contribution it makes to the local economy.

“We understand the timeframe between the Northern Ireland Executive lifting the Covid restrictions and the proposed date for the air show was too narrow to arrange this event safely,” the councillors said in a statement.

“The DUP grouping plan to propose at the next full council meeting that the date for next year’s Festival of Flight is firmed in the events diary, ensuring this event is safe for years to come.”

Last week it was confirmed that the council’s decision to cancel the festival was taken without consulting one of its key partners.

The Ulster Aviation Society — which has played a major role since the inaugural festival — has described its disappointment at the cancellation decision.

Regularly attracting in the region of 100,000 people to the resort in the summer, the flagship tourist event has been a major success for over a decade.

The Ulster Aviation Society said it was “disappointed and dismayed” about the cancellation of the air show and the fact that the organisation had not been consulted.

Society chairman Ray Burrows said it was “astonishing” that the event had been “shot down in secret, with no reasonable explanation”.

He said the Society would be pleased to meet with the council to discuss the matter and to help Newcastle demonstrate in a powerful, popular way, how important aviation future and heritage are to Northern Ireland.

Mr Burrows suggested that unless the council’s decision is reversed, or at least re-assessed, he expects there will be tremendous disappointment from the public.

The international festival was cancelled in 2018 because of bad weather and in 2020 and last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic it was also grounded.

A council spokeswoman, who did not respond in time to meet last week’s production deadline, said proposals for the local authority’s 2022-23 tourism events programme have not yet been considered.

She added: “Details of the confirmed events programme will be announced in due course, subject to ratification by full council.”

Via – Down Recorder

Cllr McKee disappointed in decission to cancel Festival of Flight.

AirshowsNI recently reached out to all Cllrs in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, and recieved this reply from TUV Cllr, and MLA candadate for South Down, Harold McKee.

” Like yourselves I am disappointed in no air show this year again. Covid regulations was one thing but now we are all being told regulations have changed, it is now guidance. I always looked forward to this day, it was a big crowd gathering day in Newcastle.

I always liked the morning launch of the air show day accompanied with tea/coffee. It was a place of meeting with friends but most importantly it was a precursor to a massive tourism financial spend in Newcastle. It was a tremendous extravaganza to watch so many flights taking place in our sky’s.

I will continue to investigate the reasons why this display was cancelled.”

Cllr Patrick Brown supports return of the Festival of Flight

AirshowsNI reached out to the Newry Mourne and Down Cllrs and recieved this reply from Cllr, and MLA candadate for South Down for the Alliance Party, Patrick Brown.

“I have been to the festival of flight several times and it is a fantatsic, family friendly day out and a real asset to the Newcastle area. I was very disappointed to see it wouldn’t be going ahead this year.

I don’t sit on the committees responsible for this but I am very concerned that this seems to have come out of nowhere with little consultation of councillors.

I see that the DUP in council have posted publicly about this and I would tend to agree with their position, and will ask similar questions if and when it’s brought to council. It may be too late for this year but I would be very supportive of ensuring we put in place plans to bring the festival back next year.”

Update on Festival of Flight cancellation

A small update on the cancellation of the 2022 Festival of Flight via the Down Recorder

“Regularly attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the resort and significantly boosting the local economy, there will be disappointment that despite the easing of Covid restrictions, the international event won’t proceed.

Council officials say that due to the challenges in planning such a major festival, securing commitments from participants and with the uncertainty caused to date by the pandemic, organising this year’s event would not be possible.”

Council Communications & Marketing officer comments on 2022 Festival of Flight cancellation

AirshowsNI reached out to Newry Mourne and Down Cllrs last week, including Council Chair Person, Sinn Fein’s Cathy Mason to comment on the cancellation of the Festival of Flight.

A reply was recieved from Kathryn Belshaw, Communications and Marketing Officer stating what had already been reported in the Mourne Observer dated 16/2/2022

“Proposals for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s 2022-23 Tourism Events Programme have not yet been considered by full Council. Details of the confirmed Events Programme will be announced in due course, subject to ratification by full Council.”

Ulster Aviation Society left ‘dismayed’ over council at Festival of Flight decision

23 February 2022

THE decision by Newry, Mourne and Down Council to cancel this summer’s international Festival of Flight in Newcastle was taken without consulting one of its key partners, it has emerged.

Last week’s decision to pull the plug on the event — which was last held in 2019 — was taken in secret during a meeting of the local authority’s Enterprise, Tourist and Regeneration Committee.

It is understood that no contact was made with the Ulster Aviation Society which has played a major role since the inaugural festival and described its disappointment at the cancellation decision.

Regularly attracting in the region of 100,000 people to the resort in the summer, the flagship tourist event has been a major success for over a decade.

Council officials say that due to the challenges in planning such a major festival, securing commitments from participants and with the uncertainty caused to date by the pandemic, organising this year’s event would not be possible.

Some councillors believe that given the local authority’s St Patrick’s Day parades in Downpatrick and Newry are set to go ahead next month and with the further easing of Covid regulations, some form of airshow could have been organised for Newcastle this summer.

This week, Slieve Croob councillor Alan Lewis urging the council to confirm that next year’s festival will go ahead.

The Ulster Aviation Society said it was “disappointed and dismayed” about the cancellation of the airshow and the fact that the organisation had not been consulted.

Society chairman Ray Burrows said it was “astonishing” that the event had been “shot down in secret, with no reasonable explanation”.

Mournes councillor Willie Clarke has urged the local council to “grasp the opportunity” and organise an alternative event, suggesting a large scale festival that incorporates and builds on the most popular elements of the Festival of Flight.

He is keen to see an event showcasing the region’s “outstanding food and drink offering” with Newcastle a designated venue for arts, culture and music events to create opportunities showcasing the entrepreneurial spirit and pioneering innovation of the district.

Mr Burrows said while these were “all excellent suggestions, he said as elements in addition to, or within, the Festival of Flight, surely not as a replacement for it”.

He continued: “That said, we would be pleased indeed to meet with the council or the mayor to discuss the matter. We want to help Newcastle demonstrate in a powerful, popular way how important our aviation future and heritage are to Northern Ireland.

“That’s exactly what did in recent years, before Covid.“We [the UAS] had probably the most popular exhibition within the ground-based event and thousands of parents have brought their children for photographs in our Spitfire and our Alouette helicopter, at no charge.”

Mr Burrows suggested that unless the council’s decision is reversed, or at least re-assessed, he expects there will be tremendous disappointment from the public.

The international festival was cancelled in 2018 because of bad weather and in 2020 and last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic it was also grounded.

Urging the local authority to confirm that it will be chocks away for next summer’s Festival of Flight, Cllr Lewis said that for the past two years, the organisation has been unable to deliver a tourism events programme due to the impact of Covid-19.

“Although the possible impact of future Covid variants is difficult to predict, it is hoped that larger scale events can resume this summer. This will be a welcome boost to residents and the local trade and hospitality sectors,” he continued.

“Council research indicates that almost £10m was generated in 2019 for the district as a direct result of tourism events. Therefore, it is bitterly disappointing that this year’s Festival of Flight will not be going ahead.”

Cllr Lewis said the income that it would have generated would be a welcome boost to traders in the town and benefit the collective tourism industry across South Down.

He continued: “We must not underestimate the huge draw of this annual festival. I note that council officers have said that throughout this past 12 months they had continued to engage with key stakeholders including the RAF.

“It was advised that due to challenges planning the festival, securing air assets and the uncertainty of the pandemic that it has not been possible to host the festival of flight this year.”

Cllr Lewis revealed that he has been contacted by many aviation enthusiasts who are bitterly disappointed that the festival won’t go ahead.

He added: “I fail to see how the event couldn’t have at least been planned for later in the year, now that we know the majority of restrictions are to be lifted. I am asking the council to alleviate fears by confirming that the Festival of Flight hasn’t be shelved. Every effort must be made to ensure this wonderful attraction be returned to Newcastle which has been its home for 12 years.”

Article via Down Recorder

Lewis asks Council to reassure 2023 festival of Flight.

Ulster Unionist Councillor Alan Lewis has expressed concern that the 2022 festival of flight isn’t going ahead, saying that Council must move to set aside fears and confirm that the festival will return in 2023.

Cllr Lewis says “For this past two years council has been unable to deliver a tourism events programme due to the impact of Covid 19. Although the possible impact of future Covid variants is difficult to predict, it is hoped that larger scale events can resume this summer. This will be a welcome boost to residents and the local trade and hospitality sectors.

“Council research indicates that almost £10 Million was generated in 2019 for the district as a direct result of tourism events. Therefore, it is bitterly disappointing that this year’s festival of flight will not be going ahead. The income generated is a welcome boost to traders in the town and benefits our collective tourism industry across South Down, we must not underestimate the huge draw of this annual festival”

“I note that officers have said that throughout this past 12 months they had continued to engage with key stakeholders including the RAF. It was advised that due to challenges planning the festival, securing air assets and the uncertainty of the pandemic that it has not been possible to host the festival of flight this year”

“ I have been contacted by many enthusiasts who are bitterly disappointed, I fail to see how the event couldn’t have at least been planned for later in the year, now that we know the majority of restrictions are to be lifted?”

“ I ask that council move to alleviate fears by confirming that the festival of flight hasn’t be shelved, every effort must be made to ensure this wonderful attraction be returned to Newcastle as it has been annually for this last twelve years”

Move to secure Festival of Flight from 2023 onwards.

The DUP Cllrs on the district Council have said they are “Hugely disappointed” that the Festival of Flight isn’t going to be taking place in Newcastle this year.

In a joint Statement Cllr Kathryn Owen, Cllr William Walker and Cllr Glyn Hanna said they would be raising the matter at the next monthly meeting of the council at the start of March.

They want a firm date for the 2023 airshow to be inserted into the events diary for next year.

“The news of the postponement of the Festival of Flight will be devastating for local businesses, the many visitors to Newcastle and aviation enthusiasts” the Cllrs assed.

“As a group we are hugely disappointed that this event will not go ahead, it is always well attended and enjoyed by families right across NI and further afield.

“We understand the timeframe between the NI Executive lifting restrictions and the proposed date for the airshow was too narrow to arrange this event safely.

The DUP grouping plan to propose at the next full meeting that the date for next years Festival of Flight is firmed in the events diary, ensuring this event is safe for years to come.” The statement concluded.

via Mourne Observer newspaper