Little Gransden Airshow under threat after new aviation charges are brought in
- Credit: Archant
This year’s Little Gransden Airshow could be the last due to the spiralling cost of insuring the event.
The event, which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity in its 24-year history, is under threat after an announcement by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to bring in a new pricing structure.
The CAA has outlined new safety procedures and charges following the tragedy at the Shoreham Airshow last summer in which 11 people died.
Insurance for last year’s show was about £4,000, but this could be closer to £10,000 - a serious strain for the volunteer-run event.
Organiser Dave Poile said: “We will sit down and see if it is worth doing, and if it isn’t then that’s the end of Little Gransden.”
Costs already include Ministry of Defence insurance for any RAF assets used, a CAA display permit and public liability insurance, but the CAA wants to introduce a post-event charge which could amount to another £4,000, plus an increase in other charges.
Airfields across the country have already announced they will not be holding airshows this year due to the CAA changes, including Sywell Aerodrome.
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The CAA will finish its consultation on the proposed changes on February 29, but a petition, which has so far gathered more than 13,000 signatures has been launched. New safety guidelines will be published in March, but the results of the official review and the confirmation of fees won’t be available until later.
Mr Poile said: “It is a worry. We are hoping they rethink some of this.”
Organisers of the Little Gransden Airshow are also considering increasing the ticket price to cover any additional costs, but will try to limit this to just a couple of pounds.
Mr Poile’s biggest concern though, is the amount of money which will be sent to Children in Need, the show’s main charity, and are calling on sponsors to help.
More than £60,000 was raised last year for the charity, with £63,000 collected the year before.
To sign the petition, go to: www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/120628
To sponsor a flying item or steward on the day (must be over 16), contact Mr Poile at firstname.lastname@example.org