This summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo, which was due to take place at RAF Fairford, in Gloucestershire on July 16-18, has been cancelled by organisers, the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises (RAFCTE).
RAFCTE Directors concluded that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 meant there were too many risks associated with pressing ahead with the airshow. It is the second year running the event has been unable to take place.
Air Tattoo CEO Paul Atherton said he and his team had been working hard during the past six months to explore ways in which the Air Tattoo could take place against the backdrop of the pandemic but, with five months to the event, there still remained too many unknowns.
“If we knew, with some degree of certainty what the situation would be in the summer,” he said, “we’d be able to plan ahead but, the truth is, we simply don’t know. We have reached a point where, to plan further, would involve us committing large sums of money to secure the event infrastructure. Without any insurance being available this year, this money would be lost if the airshow had to cancel nearer the time. It was simply too big a risk to take.
“I know how disappointed all those who are involved in the airshow will be, from our incredible army of volunteers and loyal ticketholders to our valued corporate guests, suppliers, traders and sponsors, as well as the many military air arms from around the globe, but I also know they will understand and support our decision. Public safety is paramount, and we also have a duty to protect the future of RIAT. By making this decision in a timely and controlled manner, we will be in a far stronger position to bounce back in 2022.”
Mr Atherton added that it was particularly disappointing to have to announce the cancellation of the airshow this year, the Air Tattoo’s 50th anniversary.
He said: “Everyone was looking forward to marking the Air Tattoo’s 50th at RAF Fairford in July and we had some great ideas as to how best to celebrate the incredible achievements of this much-loved event since it was first staged in 1971. We remain determined to identify new opportunities to mark this important milestone this year, both by building on the success of last year’s inaugural Virtual Air Tattoo as well as other exciting activities, where possible.”
All ticketholders for this summer’s Air Tattoo will be contacted by the end of February and offered either a refund or the opportunity to roll over their tickets to the 2022 Air Tattoo, which will take place on July 15-17.