From BBC News:-

A “top-to-tail” inquiry is to be held after poor attendance figures put a south coast airshow in jeopardy.

Visitors to Eastbourne Airbourne were charged to enter the seafront area for the first time in its 16-year history but only 48,000 paid the £5 admission.

Attendance figures in previous years have been put as high at 800,000.

“Council tax payers have sent a clear message – they do not want to pay for Airbourne,” said Eastbourne council leader David Tutt.

The airshow was kept aloft by sponsors until 2006.

But last year none came forward and the show made a loss which had to be covered by the borough council’s taxpayers.

The council hoped the £5-per-day charge for last week’s show would help secure its future, with profits being pumped into tourism in the East Sussex town.

Exhibitors and trade stands were sited inside the paid-admission area, from Eastbourne Pier to the end of the Western Lawns.

Ticket sales were negligible after 1600 BST on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so organisers threw the gates open on Sunday afternoon to allow traders to sell leftover merchandise.

The traders are furious about the poor attendance, threatening not to return unless the entry fee is scrapped.

Bryan Benning, who runs a bungee jump company, said takings were down 85% on last year and he did not even made enough money to cover staff wages or the rent for the pitch.

The council admitted the low attendance was “a blow”, as visitors and residents demonstrated they did not value the show highly enough to pay for tickets.

It said that weather was better than forecast, but the current economic climate and the Beijing Olympics may also have played a part in keeping spectators away.

It said serious questions would now be asked about the structure of the event in the future.

“We will be investigating what went right, what went wrong and looking very seriously at ways of ensuring the event for future years,” said councillor Tutt.

“Although nothing can be ruled out, Airbourne fans can be assured that this administration will do all that it can to ensure that there is an event for 2009.”