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Jersey surprised by change of air display date

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A DECISION to move Guernsey’s air display to June has been questioned by the organiser of Jersey’s event.

Jersey is sticking to the traditional September date for its air display and has booked the Breitling Jet Team, seen flying over Monument Valley during its American tour, to headline in place of the unavailable Red Arrows. (Picture courtesy of Breitling)

The switch was announced at the end of last week to allow the Red Arrows to perform.

Jersey’s International Air Display will stick to its original date, having booked a major aerobatic squad in place of the Red Arrows, the organiser has said.

Jersey organiser Mike Higgins added that holding it in September helped support the tourism industry in both islands.

Guernsey’s event organisers made the move after a successful application to get the Red Arrows in June after the team announced that it would be undertaking a diplomatic visit during August and September.

Speaking about the decision to bring Guernsey’s display forward, Deputy Higgins said that the make-up of Guernsey’s display did not tend to have any bearing on what appeared in Jersey’s event.

‘I think moving their display to the middle of the holiday season is a bit counter-productive. We normally schedule it for September because that is the start of the shoulder months when a bit of slack starts to appear in the tourism industry,’ he said.

‘I would not do the same at such short notice and we would give anyone at least a year’s notice before doing anything like this. Some tourists book their holidays a year in advance.’

In response, Barry Neal, the Guernsey Air Display organiser and flying display director, said: It is inappropriate for us to comment on the Jersey Air Display in the same way as it is inappropriate for Jersey to comment on Guernsey’s. I wish them well in September,’ said Mr Neal.

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Taking the Red Arrows’ place in Jersey is the Breitling Jet Team, based in Dijon.

The aerobatic squad is made up of seven Czech Aero L-39 Albatros aircraft – painted in a black, anthracite-grey and metallic-grey colour-scheme – capable of flying at nearly 470mph.

Deputy Higgins said he was very pleased to have been able to secure the Breitling Jet Team because they adopt a similar style as the act which they were replacing.

‘They are an exceptionally good aerobatic team and their leader is a former member of the Patrouille de France – he was with them for about 20 years,’ he said. ‘You can actually see them change formation in front of you.

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The US style of display is to disappear off to the side, change formation and come back.

‘They have the same sort of dynamic style as the Red Arrows – they are really first class.’

The Jersey event will also feature a Spitfire, Hurricane, Dakota and Tucano along with Chinook and Puma helicopters.

Nick Mann

By Nick Mann
author

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