This year’s Jersey International Air Display is in danger of being cancelled at the end of this month unless it can raise additional last minute sponsorship.
The event which is normally financed through private sector sponsorship and a government grant has been seriously impacted through changes in government policy towards organisations which receive grant aid.
In order to determine whether the government is getting value for money for the grants they make, the government has decided to put all such event grants out to tender and invite expressions of interest from individuals and organisations to apply for them.
Event Organiser, Mike Higgins was informed on 7th March of this year that the tender process would apply to this year’s event. It is understood that this will apply to other tourism events in 2024.
On 9th March, the Government issued a press release both locally and nationally, when aircraft had already been booked / penciled in for this year’s Display, inviting “prospective event organisers (including the incumbent)… to submit expressions of interest for organising an air display event” by 6th April.
The Jersey International Air Display is recognised as being one of the most entertaining and well run Air Displays in the United Kingdom. In 2013 it was awarded the Paul Bowen Trophy for the best European Air Display and is a long standing feature of the Jersey Tourism Calendar, being one of the biggest tourism events in the Island.
From an economic impact, it has previously been demonstrated that the air display has contributed millions of pounds over the years to the Jersey economy.
The result of the new policy being announced at short notice has been that the organizers of the Jersey International Air Display lost some of their existing private sector sponsorship, due to the uncertainty this policy has raised.
The associated delays also meant that permission from the Director of Civil Aviation (“DCA”). to hold this year’s event was in itself delayed. Permission has now been granted, and the organisers are grateful for the support of the DCA. However, the delays by the Government deciding who would receive the grant have made it exceptionally difficult to raise new sponsorship during this time.
In the end the organisers of the Jersey International Air Display were advised in May by the Minister for Economic Development that the government were prepared to make a grant to them for 2023 of £40,000 subject to certain conditions. The organisers are still awaiting the nature of such conditions.
The grant is half of the £80,000 that was requested from the government (and is a reduction on the £60,000 received for the 2022 display). The increase requested is due to rising costs across the board.
Taking the reduction in the grant, and the loss of some existing sponsors (due to the uncertainty created by this process), means that the organisers are approximately £75,000 short of what they require to put on the event.
The air display organisers have tried to mitigate the loss in finance by writing or contacting over a hundred individuals and organisations but have been unable to raise the money required due to current economic conditions and because during the delays many organisations have already committed their budgets for the year.
It is for this reason that the air display organisers are making a last minute appeal to the private sector and / or any interested individuals for funding in order to save the event.
They hope that at least fifteen islanders and/or companies will come forward with £5,000 or more to keep this much loved and important date in the island’s social and tourism calendar from being cancelled. Any such support would be thanked with unique event opportunities (for example, meeting pilots, including from the RAF and the French Airforce).
For clarification or more information please contact:
Mike Higgins Event Organiser
Landline: +44 (0) 1534 873956