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Air rally falls victim to virus restrictions

News | Published:

CONTINUED restrictions on Guernsey’s borders has forced the Guernsey Aero Club to cancel its 2020 air rally.

Jon Le Ray took this picture of the light aircraft parked for the 2017 air rally.

Rally director Gary Elson said it was with regret that the decision had been made, but it was something the club had expected.

The event had already been postponed from June, following the island’s lockdown.

It was rescheduled for the weekend of 18-20 September, but with the minimum seven-day quarantine expected to still be in place, it is impossible to host the 40 aircraft and their 100 pilots and passengers who had signed up to participate.

‘It is a truly international event, with aircraft expected from Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and France, as well as the UK,’ Mr Elson said.

‘All entrants have been very understanding of the circumstances and most have asked that we roll their entry fees into the 2021 event.’

He said it was ironic that the same policies that have forced the cancellation of the air rally allowed the Aero Club to hold a very successful Wings & Wheels event last weekend, with nearly 2,000 visitors to the club.

This has helped to offset the loss of some income – the rally is the club’s biggest fundraiser.

Mr Elson highlighted the potential for visiting general aviators to assist with the States’ Revive & Thrive strategy.

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‘At a time when people may be nervous in getting back into an airliner “tube” to fly here, general aviators have their own means of transport with no connectivity issues and we know from feedback that Guernsey is a popular destination,’ he said.

‘Indeed, if they can be encouraged to spend at least one night in the Bailiwick, their per-head spend is more than that of visiting cruise liner passengers, especially to the tourism sector.’

. It is planned that the air rally will return in June or September next year.

Zoe Fitch

By Zoe Fitch
News reporter

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