Above: Six L-39 Albatros aircraft of the Latvian Baltic Bees display in 2017
Organisers of the Jersey International Air Display have confirmed that this year’s event, scheduled to be held this 14 September, has secured funding to continue as planned (subject to the Bailiff Panel’s consent).
With the event described by organisers as being ‘on the verge of cancellation due to a severe financial shortfall for reasons beyond its control,’ a last-minute seven-day public appeal was successful in securing the vital funds needed to save the show, with a final decision extended until ‘close of business’ on Friday 4 August.
Although the fundraiser did not achieve its £75,000 target, the generosity of ten companies and individuals (who pledged £5,000 each) was bolstered by the Economic Development Department who increased their grant with an additional £20,000.
The annual display is organised by a not-for-profit company which strives to raise money for British Service Charities alongside supporting the island’s tourism industry. Display organiser Mike Higgins noted that the team are “extremely grateful” for the support of the donors and the Island’s former Chief Minister, John Le Fondre, who “worked tirelessly to help [the event] raise this money”.
First held in 1952 as the ‘Battle of Britain Air Display’, the event has taken place every year (with the exception of 1954). Rebranded to its current title in 1997, reflecting ‘a move by the organisers to include a number of international aircraft alongside its traditional RAF participants,’ the show now welcomes aircraft from as far afield as Sweden, Poland and Canada.
The free event will be held at St Aubins’ Bay, ‘a natural ampitheatre where visitors and locals alike congregate to watch… magnificent aircraft from across the ages’. Alongside the flying display, the event will host two large static displays of aircraft at Jersey Airport and Lower West Park, St Helier.
IMAGE: DAZ ROBERTS VIA JERSEY INTERNATIONAL AIR DISPLAY