An article in the local Eastbourne News suggests that in future the public may have to pay admission to enter the seafront for Airbourne, Eastbounrne International Airshow. Charging for seafront airshows is nothing new in the UK. Southport has been doing so since 2002 and a similar scheme was run at Margate during the two years that the Kent Air Show was held. The article says “Spectators will be charged to enter a fenced-off area at Airbourne in a bid to find the cash the council needs to provide public services.” In an opinion page, it goes on “No-one will like paying to be in the hub of Airbourne activity, but the entry fee is likely to be modest and is probably overdue for such excellent entertainment.”
2008 has certainly seen a tough start for organisers as we have already lost the Lydd airshow due to a lack of sponsorship or available funds. The Royal International Air Tattoo has also increased admission costs on top of introducing day specific tickets. Throughout the air display industry, costs have risen dramatically from all sides (operators, insurance, policing etc.) though some enthusiasts have remained blinkered to the reality as has been evident on a number of enthusiast forums. Eastbourne is certainly one of the highlights of the UK display calendar and hopefully such as scheme would help safeguard the events future if introduced properly.