Covid-19 concerns cancel RIAT and Farnborough Air Show

Harry Lye 23 March 2020 (Last Updated March 23rd, 2020 11:28)

Farnborough International Air Show (FIA2020) and the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT2020) have been called off due to concerns about the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus Pandemic.

Covid-19 concerns cancel RIAT and Farnborough Air Show
Farnborough International Air Show visitors observe static displays of US military aircraft. Image: US Air Force.

Farnborough International Air Show (FIA2020) and the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT2020) have been called off due to concerns about the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus Pandemic.

The events, due to take place in July in the UK, add to a slew of other defence and aerospace events being postponed or cancelled on coronavirus health and safety grounds across the world.

The decisions leave a gap in the international air show calendar until 2021 when RIAT is expected to return for its 50th Anniversary show and France will host the Paris Air Show.

In a statement released on Friday, Farnborough Air Show organisers said: “It is with great regret that we announce the Farnborough International Airshow 2020, due to take place in July, is cancelled.

“After very careful consideration, the unprecedented impact of the global coronavirus pandemic has forced this decision in the interests of the health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors, contractors and staff.”

The Farnborough Air Show organisers added that the situation involving Covid-19 made it ‘impossible’ to host the Air Show this year, but added they were looking forward to returning with the event in 2022.

In a similar statement, the organisers of RIAT said: “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.”

In a letter, RIAT’s chief executive officer Paul Atherton said that last year the event hosted 245 aircraft from 25 countries, all of which have reported cases of Covid-19 and have imposed restrictions to halt its spread. Last year’s event saw flypasts and static displays of P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, CV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from the US Air Force, and Typhoons from the Royal Air Force among others.

Exhibitors at this years’ Farnborough Air Show were due to include Boeing, Airbus, BAE Systems, and Lockheed Martin along with a host of others.