RIAT 2020 Air Show Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

This year’s Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT 2020), due to take place from 17 to 19 July, is cancelled due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

“It is with enormous regret and disappointment that we have to announce the cancellation of this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo, due to take place from 17 to 19 July, as a result of the challenging and unprecedented environment presented by COVID-19”, a statement from RIAT read.

RIAT is the world’s largest military air show, held annually over the third weekend in July, usually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England in support of The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. The show typically attracts a total of 150,000 to 160,000 spectators over the weekend.

In 2019, 245 aircraft from 39 air arms representing 25 nations took part in the event.

RAF Red Arrows and British Airways Boeing 747 at RIAT 2019
The Royal Air Force (RAF)’s Red Arrows aerobatics display team performed a spectacular flypast with a British Airways Boeing 747 jumbo jet at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2019 at RAF Fairford on July 20, marking the airline’s centenary. Photo by SAC Hannah Smoker.

Full statement:

It is with enormous regret and disappointment that we have to announce the cancellation of this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo, due to take place from 17 to 19 July, as a result of the challenging and unprecedented environment presented by COVID-19.

This decision has not been taken lightly and a significant amount of work sits behind this course of action. The crisis, which is worsening by the day, and the implications of which are becoming more profound, has led us to conclude that the most prudent course of action is to cease any further planning to deliver this significant event.

The Air Tattoo is reliant on the support of a wide range of stakeholders, not least the participation of international air arms, medical professionals, military security teams and our Emergency Services, many of whom are delivering a fundamental contribution to fighting this crisis. We believe delivery of our event would distract them from this.

At the heart of this difficult decision is our firm belief that staging the Air Tattoo this year would not only run counter to the current Government advice but would also be beyond what we could reasonably ask of our supporters. We recognise that our decision will have a negative financial impact on our valued suppliers and traders, on the local economy that benefits so much from the large influx of people who arrive in the area for one week in July, as well as on our parent charity. For this we apologise.

We would like to thank all our partners, the RAF, USAF, sponsors, the world’s air forces, our amazing volunteers and of course the public who turn up year on year to support our magnificent event. We seek your patience and encouragement over the next few weeks as we plan for the future in order to return in 2021 to celebrate the Air Tattoo’s 50th Anniversary.



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