One of the world’s largest airshows, the Farnborough International Airshow, has been cancelled due to the continuing spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus that has infected nearly 300,000 people and killed more than 11,000. Additionally, the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire was also called off.
Farnborough, which alternates years with the Paris Airshow, usually attracts 80,000 visitors and thousands of aviation-related companies while the Air Tattoo is the UK’s biggest military aviation event. The five-day Farnborough International Airshow was scheduled to begin on 20 July at the Hampshire airport.
Organisers said in cancelling the event: “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.
“This decision was reached taking into consideration several major factors surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19, all of which we have concluded, make it is impossible for us to create and host the Airshow this July. We understand this news will be an incredible disappointment to all across the international aerospace industry, not to mention our important exhibitors, suppliers and visitors. We at Farnborough International share your disappointment that we are unable to present the Airshow as planned.”
Farnborough is the UK’s biggest commercial aerospace event. The 2018 show saw US$192 billion in deals with more than 1,500 exhibitors and 80,000 visitors from 112 countries.
Organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo, scheduled for 17-19 July, said their decision had “not been taken lightly”. That event attracts up 100,000 visitors. A statement said the Tattoo decision was reliant on medical professionals, military security teams and the emergency services, “many of whom are delivering a fundamental contribution to fighting this crisis”.