Plenty of room for two air shows, say organisers

Colm Ward

Reporter:

Colm Ward

Action from last year's airshow in Foynes
The organiser of an air show due to take place in Foynes next month says she is not worried that a similar event in Shannon the week before will affect the numbers attending.

The organiser of an air show due to take place in Foynes next month says she is not worried that a similar event in Shannon the week before will affect the numbers attending.

Limerick people can look forward to an unprecedented feast of aerial action when two big air shows will take place within a week of each of other on either side of the Shannon Estuary.

On July 18 Shannon Airport will host its first airshow in 25 years to mark the 70th anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight at the airport.

A week later, on July 26, Foynes will stage the follow-up to its hugely successful show of a year ago.

Margaret O’Shaughnessy, chief organiser of the Foynes show, expects that this year’s event will be bigger and better than last year’s which attracted upward of 20,000 people to the West Limerick village and featured some of the world’s top air display teams as well as a range of ancillary entertainment.

Last year’s event was staged to mark the 75th anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight to land at the flying boat terminal there in 1939. It was so successful that the organisers decided to run a similar show this year with backing from Limerick City and County Council to the tune of €50,000.

“I would think that people would be delighted - we hadn’t had an air show for years and suddenly now we have two,” Ms O’Shaughnessy said.

“We have things that they don’t have and they have things that we don’t have,” she said, citing the Breitling Wing Walkers as one of the spectacular performers scheduled for Foynes.

She added that they were “working closely” with the organisers of the Shannon airport show to ensure there is no crossover.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Shannon Airport said the air shows were an “incredible opportunity” for people in the region to see some of the world’s finest aerial display acts in action.

“They are on separate weekends and there is plenty of room for two events,” he said, pointing out that 40,000 people are expected to attend the event in Shannon.

He added that Shannon Airport was staging the air show this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight at the airport.

“Last year, Shannon supported the Foynes event because it was their anniversary,” he said.

Among those also displaying their air skills in Shannon will be the Norwegian Airforce with its ‘historical squad’, which will bring the Mig-15 for its first ever visit to Shannon. The RAF Hunter Jet, first flown in 1955, will also be performing. O’Brien’s Flying Circus, one of the UK’s most daredevil acts, will also thrill audiences with their crazy stunts, including landing on a moving trailer at 55mph.

Shannon Airport Operations Director Niall Maloney said: “It is 25 years since we last had an airshow here at Shannon and our ultimate aim in staging our 2015 airshow is to provide an exciting, action packed day of fun and entertainment with plenty of thrills for all.

“Shannon is very much a family airport so we have put a major emphasis also on developing a strong family fun programme for the event, not least in terms of providing a range of activities for children to enjoy.”