Bournemouth Air Festival Attracts 1.2m Visitors

1 September 2014, 12:28 | Updated: 1 September 2014, 12:35

Close to 1.2m people attended the seventh Bournemouth Air Festival this year (28th-31st August) to watch dozens of air displays.

Record breaking weekend visitors, estimated at 850,000, packed onto the seafront and the Coastguard has confirmed 1000 boats were watching from the water.

The festival creates 500 full-time jobs and brings £300 million to the local economy.

Mark Smith, Director of Tourism said next year's dates have already been confirmed;

"The event goes from strength to strength, it's wonderful to see so many people here enjoying the world's largest free four-day event. 

"Bournemouth has got a wonderful festival that not only entertains local people but is also great for the visitor economy, supporting jobs and helping investment. 

"The most important thing is that people who come have a great experience, tell everyone and come back next year - 20th - 23rd August!"

As the biggest joint event in the British Forces calendar, Bournemouth Air Festival hosted the Royal Navy, The Army, Royal Air Force and the Royal Marines in their landmark 350th year.

Naval Regional Commander Wales and Western England, Commodore Jamie Miller CBE said;

"We are delighted to come back to Bournemouth year after year, and giving a bit more Royal Navy and Royal Marines each time we do. 

"What the public sees as entertainment is actually a credible, valuable, realistic training exercise and an amazing opportunity to show off what we do. 

"I hope that the festival goers leave here with a bit more understanding of what their Navy does and that we have tempted some to think of us when they consider their future careers."  

Andy Morton, RAF Red Arrows Public Relations Manager said;

"Response from the people of Bournemouth and all the Festival goers has been phenomenal. 

"Each day the seafront has been packed with people and the team is always thrilled to receive such a fantastic reaction. We'd love to be back next year!"

Lieutenant Colonel Cliff Dare MBE, Royal Marines said;

"We are delighted to have opened the 2014 Bournemouth Air Festival in this, our 350th Anniversary Year.

"From fast roping from helicopters, to beach assaults, unarmed combat displays and the Royal Navy Village, it has been great to showcase to the British public here in Bournemouth what their Royal Navy is doing every day on their behalf."

Kicking off the Festival was 94-year-old wing walker Tom Lackey who said after his flight; "Wing walking keeps me going and at my age I wouldn't be alive without it. It's what I live for!"

Also in the skies were the Red Arrows, the RAF Typhoon and The Blades. Mark Cutmore, Blades 1, said;

"The Blades always enjoy Bournemouth, one of the best venues in the summer season. 

"To be part of the dusk displays and day shows has made it a fantastic experience - we hope to be back next year!"

Other weekend highlights included Spitfire, Hurricane, Dakota and the one remaining British Lancaster bomber. For vintage plane enthusiasts, there was the heritage fly past which included the Miss Demeanour Hunter-Jet, De Havilland Sea Vixen DN110 FAW and English Electric PR-9 Canberra.

Pilot Jonathon Whaley said; "My best Bournemouth ever - flew the Vixen and the Miss Demeanour both on the same day... it doesn't get much better than that!"