At the 2017 European Airshow Council Convention held in Malta, the media team from the International Sanicole Airshow recorded a series of interviews with display pilots, wingwalkers, operators and other major players involved in the airshow industry.
- On average, approximately 5 million attend UK air displays annually making airshows the third highest attended outdoor activity. In 2017, attendances were approximately 4.6 million, attributed mainly to some very poor weekend weather that denied the usual hundreds of thousands a free airshow at the seaside. However, 2018 brings the biennnial Farnborough International Airshow, the RAF’s 100 Anniversary and hopefully a summer of sunshine to attract the crowds anew. **
- Air Displays are demonstrably important to the UK economy. In 2017, event organisers spent £20 million with various contractors to stage their events and their attendees contributed at least £100 million to the UK economy and charities. **
- Events vary from small local events featuring one display act right through to major seaside festivals, major trade events and international military displays with up to eight hours of flying displays.
- Flying display acts are drawn from military, commercial and private operators, many of which not only display in the UK, but also at events around the globe.
- Airshows are an important engagement tool for STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Engineering Industry, Youth organisations and Government (through support from UK armed services) engage with airshows to promote STEM activities, education and careers. Airshows and UK based display participants are also significant contributors to International Diplomacy, Tourism and UK trade activities.
- Many air displays are held for the benefit of local and national charities both in terms of financial contributions and awareness. During the 2017 display season, air displays supported the Royal Air Force Charities (RAF Charitable Trust, RAF Benevolent Fund, Royal Air Forces Association, RAF Museum), Help for Heroes, BBC Children in Need, The Jon Egging Trust, Local Air Ambulance Trusts, Aerobility plus many worthy local causes.
- UK Air Displays and display flying are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Military Aviation Authority (MAA). Safety is paramount to all involved in the staging of air displays. The Shoreham Tragedy in 2015 prompted a major review of air display regulation which remains on going, However between the Farnborough Airshow accident in 1962 and Shoreham 2015, no spectators were involved in a display flying accident. The British Air Display Association works together with the regulators, organisers and participants to continuously improve safety standards.
- Flying Display Directors, who are responsible for the safe running of flying displays, and Display Pilots all hold UK CAA and/or MAA accreditation to perform their tasks at air displays. Flying Display Directors are trained and accredited jointly by the CAA and MAA. UK Civilian Displays pilots all have to hold a Display Authorisation (DA) awarded by the CAA following evaluation by CAA appointed experienced display pilots . UK Military Display Pilots and crews are awarded their Public Display Authorisation by their command chain in respect to regulations and guidance set out by the MAA.
- The UK Air Display community supports events around the world. Civilian UK-based Flying Display Directors, Display Pilots and other specialists also support major aviation events throughout Europe and further afield including Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Malta, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. .
** Each Year, the British Air Display Association conducts an annual review of UK Air Displays