COVID: Royal International Air Tattoo Cancelled For Second Year In A Row

The annual military air show features aircraft from different nations across the world.

This summer's Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) has been cancelled due to ongoing uncertainty over COVID-19.

The event, said to be the biggest military air show in the world, was due to take place at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on 16-18 July for what would have been its 50th anniversary.

It is the second year running the show has been unable to take place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Directors from the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, who organise the event, felt there were 'were too many risks associated with pressing ahead with the air show' amid the pandemic, a statement said.

RIAT CEO Paul Atherton said: "If we knew, with some degree of certainty, what the situation would be in the summer, we'd be able to plan ahead but, the truth is, we simply don't know.

"We have reached a point where to plan further would involve us committing large sums of money to secure the event infrastructure.

"Without any insurance being available this year, this money would be lost if the air show had to cancel nearer the time. It was simply too big a risk to take.

The Frecce Tricolori perform an air display at RIAT 2019 210719 CREDIT MOD
The Italian air force's Frecce Tricolori aerobatic display team perform at RIAT 2019 (Picture: MOD).

He added: "By making this decision in a timely and controlled manner, we will be in a far stronger position to bounce back in 2022."

The news comes after this year's Royal Navy International Air Day was also cancelled due to the continued uncertainty of the pandemic

Meanwhile, the 2021 RAF Cosford Air Show – due to take place in June – has been postponed due to COVID-19 and organisers are now looking to hold a smaller event in September. 

Mr Atherton said "public safety is paramount" and that organisers are looking to celebrate RIAT's 50th anniversary in other ways.

"We remain determined to identify new opportunities to mark this important milestone this year, both by building on the success of last year’s inaugural Virtual Air Tattoo as well as other exciting activities, where possible," he said.

All ticketholders for this summer’s Air Tattoo will be contacted by the end of February and offered either a refund or the opportunity to roll their tickets over to the 2022 Air Tattoo, which will take place on 15-17 July.