Duxford Battle of Britain airshow cancelled, Headcorn still on, amid crackdown on gatherings

DUXFORD | This month’s Battle of Britain Airshow at Duxford has been cancelled in a surprise announcement, although AeroLegends’ show at Headcorn is still going ahead.

The Imperial War Museum said it had taken the decision to protect “the safety of our visitors and loval community,” saying it would be “irresponsible” to host the event. The show, scheduled for the 18th-20th September, was due to feature the Red Arrows, a balbo of Spitfires and dozens of other historic aircraft, and would have been the largest British airshow of 2020.

Changes to the law announced on Tuesday 8th September amid a spike in coronavirus cases will ban most gatherings of six or more people, and give police new powers to break up gatherings and issue fines. Until now, gatherings of up to six people had been permitted outdoors, although police had no power to stop gatherings unless they exceeded 30 people. Outdoor events which had been deemed Covid-secure were permitted to go ahead, including a mix of drive-in and conventional air displays. The law will come into force on Monday 14th September, with fines starting at £100 and increasing to as much as £2,300 for repeat offenders.

However, the rules will not apply to some Covid-secure settings, including as hospitality venues, and in the wake of the announcement, the Imperial War Museum said they expected the airshow would still go ahead. Tickets are also still on sale for the museum’s Showcase Day on the 10th October.

Another conventional air display, the Weston Park Model Airshow on the 17th-18th October, also plans to go ahead. They said: “We are still waiting to hear the full details however it would appear this does not change anything other than a maximum of six can group together.”

They added that they understand the cap of six people applies only to events which are not deemed Covid-secure.

The Aero Legends Battle of Britain Airshow in Kent is also still going ahead on the 25th-27th September.

The Shuttleworth Collection’s three remaining drive-in shows are less likely to be affected, as they do not count as a public gathering as long as visitors remain in their assigned viewing areas.