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800,000 Flock to Eastbourne Airbourne
Airbourne: Eastbourne International Airshow enjoyed its best ever year, with over 800,000 visitors over the four days.
Airbourne: Eastbourne International Airshow enjoyed its best ever year, with over 800,000 visitors over the four days.

All souvenir programmes sold out by lunchtime on Sunday and more people than ever used the park and ride service, with up to 1,500 cars per day. Many also took advantage of the excellent views from Beachy Head, with the additional car parking areas opening earlier to accommodate the increasing popularity, which saw over 700 cars per day.

Hotels were busy over the weekend, with Tourist Information Centre’s across the region also taking hotel bookings from Airbourne visitors. Eastbourne Borough Council, Spokesperson for Tourism, Councillor David Elkin said “Airbourne is not just a successful Eastbourne event, but is now an important date for the regional economy.”

“We are continually driving the event forward, with new initiatives such as hospitality around the Bandstand, as well as inviting international military Air Attaches to the event, to attract even more international flying in the future. It is our aim to develop not only the premiere seafront airshow in the UK, but Europe too!”

The Red Arrows were inundated by fans during their 40th display season visit on Saturday, signing autographs at the arena, RAF exhibition and children’s entertainment area, the Red Arrows Playzone. Arriving by Merlin helicopter, the team waved to the crowds as the Merlin did a special flypast along the seafront.

Following three days of sunshine, the poor weather on Sunday prevented many of the flying displays during the afternoon, however visitors enjoyed the ground displays, entertainment and shopped around the trade stands. Many also lined up to watch the impressive vintage vehicle cavalcades organised by Airbourne sponsor csma (Civil Service Motoring Association).

In the evening, visitors packed out the Bandstand for the Sunset Ceremony, sponsored by City Sightseeing Ltd, with the RAF Halton Band, and Eastbourne Pier closed the event with an impressive fireworks display.

Squadron Leader Ian Williamson of the Royal Air Force said “From the Royal Air Force perspective Airbourne 04 built on the success of previous shows. This year we allocated more resources and we were very pleased with the excellent response we received from the public who were unstinting in their praise.”

“Airbourne is a very special show in many ways and we are proud to be associated with such a prestigious event. We hope to maintain the momentum and we are already planning to return next year for Airbourne 05.”

Plans for Airbourne 2005 are already underway, and fans can now join up to ‘Friends of Eastbourne Airbourne’, free of charge, with regular newsletters, prizes, special offers and priority information on Airbourne and other Eastbourne events.

To join, log onto www.eastbourneairshow.com or telephone 0906 711 2212 (calls cost 50p per minute at standard rate) or post your name and address to Friends of Eastbourne Airbourne, Freepost BR912, Eastbourne BN21 4BR.

Join before 10th September to be entered into a free prize draw for flights, tickets to shows, free meals and memorabilia.
16 August, 2004

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