The next world-famous Farnborough Air Show is to be cut back significantly, with public admittance available only the Friday in 2020 and the traditional public displays on Saturday and Sunday being abandoned . Organisers Farnborough International claim that recent events have lost money, and that restrictions to display flying following the 2015 Shoreham Air Show disaster - which led to the Royal Air Force Red Arrows team cancelling their 2018 participation at Farnborough - have reduced the show's public appeal.
The Farnborough International Air show will be cut back from seven to five days in 2020. Public admittance - which was previously available on Friday thru Sunda - will be possible only on the Friday. (Farnborough International)
Gareth Rogers, CEO of Farnborough International said: "Removing the public weekend will disappoint some, but for our exhibitors and trade visitors the focus is on business and accessing the talent they need to sustain global competitiveness."
The organisers of next year's event have issued a statement explaining what will happen in 2020: "The move will see the seven day global aerospace, defence and space trade event, which has traditionally included a public weekend, become a five day trade event (Mon-Fri), removing the public weekend. Instead, Friday 24th July of the trade show will open its doors to the public and focus on inspiring the next generation and showcasing the technologies driving new products and manufacturing processes."
The Society of British Aircraft Constructors (SBAC) originally started at Heston Aerodrome in 1932. Later iterations took place at Hatfield and Radlett before the event settled at Farnborough, southwest of London, in 1948. In recent years its schedule has typically supported trade-only visitors from Monday to Thursday, while the general public have been admitted on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Editorial opinion: It comes as no surprise that the Farnborough Air Show is being cut back and will revert primarily to a trade event. Over recent years the organisers have treated the general public and aviation enthusiasts with contempt by allowing manufacturers to withdraw exhibits - particularly aircraft displayed on the ground or in the air - once the trade component of the event winds down on Thursday afternoon. Many of the more interesting aircraft have departed before the public are allowed in, and access to some of the trade stands and halls has been limited. Meanwhile, common or garden items have been brought in to pad out the flying display schedule while ticket prices have increased significantly. This has left the weekend with little more of interest and no more activity than any other public air show, substantially weakening Farnborough's appeal and moving away from the traditional purpose of the show which was to allow the public to see the latest developments in the aerospace industry.
Furthermore, Farnborough has become a busy airport over the last two decades and now handles many executive aircraft visiting the London area. The air show has caused significant disruption to the corporate aviation activity and enabling the airfield to revert to normal instead of extending the show over the weekend will provide relief to the regular users and tenants.
Text © The Aviation Oracle