Eastbourne Borough Council has confirmed that Airbourne 2020, the town’s international airshow, will not go ahead.

At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has impacted on events across the world, the Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, Councillor David Tutt, took the “sad but inevitable decision” to cancel this summer’s seafront display.

Councillor Tutt said: “I had been hanging onto the vain hope that Airbourne could take place this summer, but we have to accept that bringing hundreds of thousands of people together to watch the event is now out the question. This is a sad but inevitable decision for me, but at a time when our incredible medical and care workers are on the frontline of this crisis saving lives, there are much bigger issues at stake.

The senior council team that coordinates the event has been in regular dialogue with other airshow partners and from those discussions it is clear there is broad support and understanding for the decision to cancel Airbourne.

Councillor Penny di Cara, Leader of the Opposition Group, said: “I fully support Councillor Tutt’s decision and I’m sure that everyone else, however disappointed they are, will also understand why hosting Airbourne this year is impossible. I have no doubt that when we fully overcome the challenges we face now, we will bounce back and make Airbourne 2021 the best ever!

The Eastbourne Herald has published an update about the cancellation expanding on how the decision to cancel was taken and quotes Eastbourne council’s lead member for tourism and enterprise Margaret Bannister. “Airbourne is a huge economic driver for Eastbourne, so we haven’t taken this decision lightly.”

“Over recent weeks we have been monitoring government advice closely, looking into alternative options, from changing dates to altering the format of the event, to try and bring some joy and a much needed economic boost for our tourism industry at this difficult time.”

“However the sheer scale of Airbourne with its huge following of fans and the incredible level of support required from the emergency services, just isn’t viable this summer.

“Due to the commercial risks and logistical implications for everyone involved in the show, we need to make this decision now, and the safety of the public and preventing additional stresses on the emergency services and NHS must be our number one priority. 

Thank you to everyone for their continued support. We are saddened at losing our biggest event this summer, however I can assure you we are still working hard behind the scenes, to investigate new events that we can stage on a smaller, socially distanced scale as soon as our visitor economy is back up and running over the coming months.

The article goes on to confirm that all work so far on Airbourne will be rolled over to next year, with charities for 2021 announced soon, including the result of the People’s Charity vote. All those booking trade stands, hospitality and seating will be contacted in due course with options to transfer to 2021 or receive a refund. Finally, the council project to offset the carbon footprint will continue with local tree planting.