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Wales Airshow Set to be Bigger than Ever

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More than 250,000 visitors are expected on the city’s promenade and waterfront for the action-packed weekend of July 6 and 7.

There will be more displays than ever including – for the first time – a Saturday night special.

This year’s show takes on extra significance as it marks the 50th anniversary of Swansea being granted city status.

A host of exciting attractions are lined up including a comprehensive range of air displays including big favourites Red Arrows and the world-famous Blades close-formation aerobatics team. The Armed Forces will be among a great variety of exhibitors bringing ground displays, personnel and equipment.

The Wales Airshow has grown in popularity from 75,000 visitors in its launch year in 2009 to an audience of 250,000 last year. Even more people are expected this year, bringing excitement, money and a raised profile to the city.

The event is organised by Swansea Council.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said:

“This year’s Airshow promises to be really exciting with the return of some of the favourite displays as well as some new ones.

“It’s going to be a great spectacle and one of the key events of our 50th anniversary celebrations. Because of the programme and the After Dark addition, we are expecting an even bigger audience this year.

“The people of Swansea and visitors from across the country love the Airshow and it’s become one of the best free events in the UK.

“The show continues to grow in entertainment value, in visitor numbers and in the area it covers – and that’s good news for Swansea as a welcoming, progressive, modern city.”

The event will take place from 10am-6pm on both days. The new After Dark event will take place on the Saturday from 8.30-10.30pm; it will include a night-time air display, parachutists, a hot air balloon night glow and a fireworks finale.

Once again this year, a section of Oystermouth Road will be closed for the weekend to ensure a safe event environment for the growth in the number of visitors. This event space – as it did last year – enables a large number of number ground displays and creates a visitor area where people can move safely without the risk of traffic. Emergency access will be maintained at all times.

Following discussions with South Wales Police, diversions and parking facilities have been arranged – and park and ride improved – to ensure visitors can reach the event whilst keeping traffic moving around the city.

The city centre will remain open for business.

Cllr Francis-Davies said:

“The Airshow is so popular that it has long out-grown the space available on the promenade.

“For a number of reasons, we need large amounts of space for visitors to safely enjoy the event and, as with last year, parts of Oystermouth Road will be part of the event footprint. This can only be done safely by closing it to traffic along a short section.

“This also means that we can use the space for stands and exhibitions that have been an important part of the Airshow’s growth.

“We want to get the message out now – a number of weeks ahead of the event – so people can take the temporary closures into account and plan appropriately.

“We know motorists will be disrupted but we’ve listened to feedback from last year and as a result, westbound traffic will be open until noon on the Friday and eastbound traffic will be open until 10am on the Saturday.

“This is an important change from last year; it will help keep traffic flowing on a busy Friday. I encourage motorists to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.”

DCI Gareth Morgan, of South Wales Police, said: “We are experienced at policing major events and the number one priority for us and our partner agencies is to deliver a safe, secure and memorable weekend.”

Russell Greenslade, chief executive of Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) said:

“The Airshow is a jewel of an event for Swansea Bay. We are pleased to see it return with reduced road closures on the Friday into the city centre, to support local businesses, following feedback from them.

“It is important to stress that, although necessary temporary road closures will be in place, Swansea city centre will be very much open for business.

“Local residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the great restaurants, cafes and retail on offer just a stone’s throw away from the Airshow activity and we encourage people to support the city centre businesses.”

  • On Friday, July 5, Oystermouth Road will be closed westbound – towards Mumbles – from noon between the West Way and Brynmill Lane junctions. Diversions will be in place via Carmarthen Road. This will allow exhibitors and traders to set up on the westbound carriageway. Oystermouth Road traffic will be able to travel eastbound until Saturday morning.
  • Over the weekend, Oystermouth Road closed in both directions – between the West Way and Sketty Lane  junctions – from Saturday 10am to Monday 5am.
  • Access to the Marina, Singleton Park Boating Lake and Swansea University will be maintained throughout.

Mark Thomas, the council’s cabinet member for environment and infrastructure management, said:

“Oystermouth Road is one of our busiest routes so the decision to close it for the Airshow last year wasn’t taken lightly. It is really the only safe option for the many thousands of visitors.

“We closed the road in both directions last year on the Friday. We’ve listened to public feedback so this year we’ll reduce the closure to improve Friday’s traffic flow.

“Our highways team have put in place a series of diversions to keep the traffic moving during the weekend.

“We’re promoting the closure and diversions as widely as possible to enable motorists to plan their journeys in advance. This will hopefully help to reduce disruption for those not attending the event and to improve the experience for those that are.”