In a Southend News Network EXCLUSIVE, we can reveal that the Southend Airshow WILL now be going ahead over the Bank Holiday Weekend. Although various official media channels have confirmed that there is no future for the crowd-pulling, name-making and generally ‘beneficial for all’ Southend event, a statement on behalf of all aircraft pilots has pointed out that nobody can realistically stop an aircraft from flying once it has taken off.
Lt Roger Aileron spoke to our Chief Reporter this morning while a small group of people stood and watched the iconic Red Arrows practicing over the Thames Estuary. He said: ‘Take a look up there and you will see a group of aircraft pilots performing a variety of stunts while shooting out massive amounts of coloured smoke into the sky. Do we have permission? No. Is there a man up there with a reflective jacket on trying to stop them while tapping a pen on a clipboard? No. The facts are simple here. The people of Southend want an airshow to take place, the performers want to take part, and the RAF are too busy patrolling the skies elsewhere and keeping an eye out for some dodgy Russians who keep getting lost and wandering into British airspace – it’s just perfect.’
He continued: ‘We are also delighted to confirm that it will be ‘business as usual’ on the ground as well. The Southend Airshow used to attract a huge variety of side stalls and exhibits to the seafront, and we will be able to effectively ‘close’ the seafront while the aircraft are performing. We have come to an arrangement with a number of cruising clubs in the South-East, and they have all agreed to drive to Southend at the same time and park legally – many of them will just ‘break down’ at The Kursaal and the Westcliff Casino simultaneously, while pedestrians will be able to move around freely. We would advise all stall holders to make sure that their installations are on wheels so that they can just roll off somewhere else when the council serve them with a ‘bugger off’ notice.’
However, it would appear that a number of seafront traders are OUTRAGED by the announcement. One store owner, who didn’t want to be named, branded the situation as ‘irresponsible and reckless.’ He said: ‘Since the original announcement a few years ago that the airshow was going to be removed from the annual calendar of events, the council has been working tirelessly to ensure that we are able to make up the lost revenue elsewhere – I have the accounts data to prove that the water fountains alone have increased my turnover by 700% year on year. I honestly can’t see how attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the town over a 2-day period could really benefit anyone either financially or otherwise, and therefore I hope that the council throws the book at these idiots.’
According to a local government source, there will be attempts to prevent the unofficial and unauthorised airshow from taking place. They said: ‘With the money that we have saved in recent years, we have been able to convert one of our CCTV parking enforcement vehicles into a helicopter, and this will be able to record details and issue £60 fines to any aircraft owners who allow their planes to be flown illegally over the Thames Estuary. We can then combine these efforts with our groundbreaking parking enforcement satellite’s work and stamp out this destructive behaviour.’