It may not even be Christmas yet, but the Shoreham Airshow Committee have met for the first time despite the cold weather. I’m lucky enough to be on the committee being responsible for the management of the website which is donated by Flightline UK. Over the coming months I hope to run a series of blogs detailing some of the latest news from behind the scenes at one of the UK’s most popular airshows.

2011 was a good year for Shoreham in terms of the execution of the event – most things went very well indeed. However, there was a marked drop in income for the show. It is not something that is unique to Shoreham. Several other shows have suffered similar stories and sadly some of them will not be re-appearing in 2012. Sadly in these days of few wage increases, ever increasing fuel costs and so on means that everyone from the aircraft operators to the family are having their budgets squeezed. Despite this, the airshow did manage a significant donation to the Royal Air Forces Association Wings Appeal which is a great achievement in these tough times.

So what of the future? Firstly, at the wash up meeting in September the committee overwhelmingly voted to carry on, but changes would have to be made to the airshow in order to protect it from the costs. Every bit of spending has been reviewed in the essential business meetings and where necessary changes have been implemented. The committee itself has been restructured too to help spread the demands over the membership.

The changes are not just behind the scenes and some will be very noticeable to regular visitors. A tricky balance needs to addressed between the show’s own expectations and finances, those of the traders and particularly those of the thousands of visitors who together have helped to bring in over £1.6 million for the annual RAFA Wings Appeal. Attending a show must be of value to traders; if they turn up and are bypassed or missed by visitors they will not come again and some of the changes being discussed at the moment will hopefully improve their exposure to the crowds. Equally, the show should be attractive to not just aviation minded visitors, but the whole family and the show will bring in changes to to maximise the appeal.

There will changes to the flying display, and I’ll hopefully be able to detail these in future blogs but for the now I can say the main theme of the airshow will be the “100th Anniversary of the Central Flying School.”  The flying display team will be liaising with the RAF Events Team over the coming months as well as private operators to have some fitting aircraft to celebrate this important milestone.

This blog may mention ‘finance’ and ‘money’ quite a bit, but that is possibly because it is one of the biggest worries facing airshow organisers in 2012 alongside safety throughout the show. It is not only display act costs that increase each year as fuel and maintenance costs rise. In particular Policing, Security and Insurance costs seem to rise year on year too and any event organiser will tell you they are feeling the squeeze.  It may seem all doom and gloom, but the changes being made to Shoreham Airshow should end up having a positive outcome for all! More next month!

Tickets for the RAFA Shoreham Airshow 2012 will be on sale in the near future – keep checking for more details.