Air show will still fly next year
By Ian C. Robertson
After some turbulance, a London air show is set to fly again next year.
The Greater London International Airport Authority announced this week it will put on a new show, after the traditional London International Air Show was forced to shut down this fall due to financial troubles, said general manager Tom Walsh.
"The event has been hit by bad weather three years in a row, killing a $180,000 rain fund designed to cover lost revenue," Walsh said. He added the show has always been debt free and has spent $5 million over its 23- year run. As well, the shows have brought in $60 million to the London area.
Walsh said the show needed $25,000 to continue to run this year, but was denied funds by London City council because some of the money would have gone towards his own salary. He said the decision has made the show an international laughing stock because other shows around the world receive all kinds of support from different levels of government.
London Airport manager Steve Baker said he is supportive of the new air show as it will benefit both the airport and the community. The Snowbirds have been contacted to perform, but their response will not be known until their 1998 schedule is released in December, he said.
Walsh said he is upset his show is being taken over and warned the new organizers not to use the name London International Air Show, as it is an incorporated name. He said he feels the name "The London Air Show" should also not be used.
"The new organizers should not run the air shows the traditional first weekend in June because the new show will betray the goodwill with the people the [previous] London Air Show had," Walsh said. He added he has also voiced his opinion regarding the timing of the new show to the International Council of Air Shows' ethics committee and London Member of Parliament Joe Fontana.
Baker said due to the legalities of the situation he wished not to respond to Walsh's comments.
Mike Harris, general manager of Tourism London said he is delighted the event will take place despite the legalities. He said Tourism London was worried when it was possible the event might not run and tried to help Walsh find a new source of income.
City council was not available to comment on the issue.