Royal Blessing for Air Festival

Queen Elizabeth II has given her blessing to the Platinum Jubilee Bournemouth Air Festival.

Her Majesty’s good wishes come as two further surprises are announced for the four-day free event on land, sea, and air.

The American B-52 bomber is set to make an appearance on Saturday before the Red Arrows take flight with their special formation celebrating the Platinum Jubilee.

Meanwhile the iconic Spitfire, hero of World War II, will be joined in formation by the mighty modern Typhoon for several enthralling passes on Friday.

However, before the planes get ready to roar, the Mayor of Bournemouth Cllr Robert Lawton is celebrating a letter from the Queen giving her good wishes to this year’s festival.

Cllr Lawton wrote to the Queen earlier on in the year inviting her to the festival, which he said was dedicated to her Majesty and aimed to celebrate her 70 years of service.

In a letter back, the Queen’s Diary Secretary Mrs Helen Cross, said the Queen would be unable to attend, but hoped “very much that the Air Festival is a successful and enjoyable one for all those attending.”

Cllr Lawton said: “It’s an enormous privilege to receive this letter from the Queen in her historic Platinum Jubilee year.

“The Bournemouth Air Festival incorporates everything that falls under the Queen in her capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, so it’s a great honour that she’s acknowledged our mark of respect in this way and I’m very glad that we’ve been able to celebrate this significant year most fittingly.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the spectacular displays in the air, on land and at sea over the next few days and encourage everyone to come and enjoy everything the Platinum Jubilee Bournemouth Air Festival has to offer.”

Alongside the Red Arrows, Spitfire and B52, festival goers can look forward to a host of other events on land and at sea, including fairground rides, bird of prey displays, bands, fireworks, trade and food stalls throughout. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) tent is also back this year to inspire the next generation, with exhibitors including the RNLI, AUB and Rolls Royce.

Cllr Beverley Dunlop Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Culture and Vibrant Place said that after a few challenging years due to the pandemic the festival, which is organised by BCP Council, was very much about celebrating the local community.

She said: “We want to give our community something to celebrate, and something to be proud of and we are certainly proud of this year’s line-up.

“Now in its 14th year, it provides free entertainment over four days against a backdrop of award-winning beaches – so it’s perfect pocket-friendly entertainment for families.”

“Tourism is worth over £1billion to the local economy and supports almost 18,000 jobs. In 2021 the Air Festival brought in a total spend of £49.7m into the local economy, attracted about 800,000 visitors from all over the UK and supported about 266 full time jobs, so it is a critical event in the calendar locally. 

“Aside from the excitement of the aerobatics and ground displays, a particular favourite of mine is the STEM marquee, which integrates the areas and challenges of science, technology and engineering to inspire the next generation by giving young people access to some of the region’s high-profile STEM companies.

“So, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all those that make the festival happen. Thank you to the Armed Forces, the RAF, and the Royal Navy, The Army and the Royal Marines for creating some incredible displays that always draw in the crowds. 

“Thanks to those at the council working behind the scenes and the businesses and traders taking part. Thank you to our partners at Bournemouth Airport, Dorset Police, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, the HM Coastguard, the RNLI and South Western Ambulance Services along with our other multi agency partners.

“We couldn’t put on the festival without all these people, so it’s truly a collective community effort.”

The award-winning Bournemouth Air Festival is scheduled to take place from Thursday, September 1, to Sunday, September 4.