Farnborough International announced it was axing its public weekend early last year
Farnborough Airshow’s public weekend is to be replaced with “Farnborough Friday”, it has been announced.
Farnborough International confirmed its bi-annual public weekend, attended by tens of thousands, would be permanently cancelled in March 2019.
It cited declining popularity, attendances and value for money among a range of reasons for the decision. Revamping the airshow, rather than cancelling it altogether, would have also lost the business “a horrendous amount of money”, while the famous Red Arrows were limited to just a flyover at the 2018 event, too.
Instead of the public weekend, Farnborough Friday, on July 24, is to be launched with the aim to “inspire and engage the industry’s future workforce”.
Farnborough International announced on Wednesday (January 22) that there will still be a full air display and a “varied and comprehensive” static display.
And a statement added that up to 25,000 young people looking to secure a career in the aviation industry will be invited to the airshow for an activity-packed day.
They will include children from the age of 11, apprentices, university students, graduates and young professionals already working in the industry.
Activities will include a live jobs board, speaker programme, rocketry challenge and a careers hub for students, graduates and young professionals.
Gareth Rogers, chief executive of Farnborough International, said: “Farnborough Friday promises to be landmark event serving two vital purposes: inspiring and engaging the next generation, and enabling industry to address major concerns about its future workforce.
“The Farnborough International Airshow has always played an important role in encouraging future leaders, innovators and pioneers to commit to studying the STEM-related subjects essential for a career in aerospace.
“July’s Airshow is one of the world’s biggest platforms for exhibiting leading-edge technology. Experts from around the world are here to do business and for the first time, we are inviting people to learn directly from them, and to see and touch innovation that is shaping our world.”
The decision followed hundreds of negative comments about the quality of the show last year. Many voiced their disappointment at the Red Arrows, who, following tightened regulations in the aftermath of the Shoreham air disaster, were limited to a flyover.
More than 1,500 aerospace companies will host activities on their respective stands, allowing visitors to gain an understanding of what careers in the aerospace industry promise.
Part of the change of direction of the airshow is to tackle a skills shortage in the aviation industry.
Around 186,000 skilled recruits are needed annually until 2024 to reduce a shortage, according to Engineering and Technology.
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