A new format of an Open House Air Day at Biggin Hill Airport is to replace the traditional International Air Fair with a date set for the first event on Saturday 10th September 2011.

The change will modernise the purpose and performance of the annual air show to reflect the emerging role of Biggin Hill as a Business & General Aviation Aerospace Centre with an increasingly global reach. A special Youth Day activity is also planned, linking with the projected Aerospace Academy and focussing on the range of new jobs available with the growing number of specialist companies based at the airport.

The world-renowned heritage of RAF Biggin Hill will be fully recognised and symbolised with displays by WWII aircraft and appropriate military participation. The outline programme, still in the early planning stages, will incorporate the best of 21st century aviation by putting the daily life of the airport on show balanced with music, heritage flying and special performances by the flying Services. The occasion will be fully open to the public.

In the longer term, airport management are planning the establishment of a WWII Heritage Centre alongside the 1940 blast pens that provided protection for Hurricane and Spitfire fighters when the airfield was under enemy attack. An original WWII pilot’s crew room at the site is to be refurbished with the help of RAF volunteers and this, together with other historic items, is planned for launch in September 2012 at the Open House Air Day that will follow the London Olympics of that year.

Air Days at Biggin Hill will be managed by the airport team with external contractors providing specialist services such as public enclosure facilities and traffic management.

Andrew Walters, Chairman of Biggin Hill Airport, says that the new format will enable a more direct relationship with the local community on an annual basis while at the same time sustaining the valued heritage of RAF Biggin Hill that is known and recognised around the world.

“Jock Maitland, his son Jim and Colin Hitchins in more recent years, have promoted and presided over a magnificent air show for almost half a century. But now is time for change, putting the community first and giving us the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to them” he says.

An Open House Air Day will enhance the fellowship of companies working at the airport and provide an opportunity for them to project to the public. It is also planned to attract young people to the airport as a source of recruitment for worthwhile careers in the exciting and rewarding business of aviation” Mr Walters adds.

Detailed arrangements for the first of the new series of Air Days, now set for September 2011, will be worked up during this autumn and further announcements made as plans develop.