Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow postponed from April to September

OMAKA | The Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow has been postponed for the first time in its history, with organisers blaming uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Classic Fighters Airshow is one of New Zealand’s largest aviation events, and is famous worldwide for its unmatched warbird displays and battle re-enactments. Scheduled for the 2nd-4th April 2021, this year’s show was due to feature a race between early aircraft, cars and bicycles, WWI fighters, WWII aircraft such as the Anson, Yak-3, Fw190, Spitfire and V1 flying bomb, and representitives of the modern Royal New Zealand Air Force.

However, the event has now been delayed to the 3rd-5th September. Classic Fighters Airshow Director Graham Orphan said, “This is the first time we have ever altered the dates of the show and it is not something we do lightly, but this time the writing was on the wall. We have accepted that it would be irresponsible to risk both the ongoing viability of Classic Fighters and the health of our community.”

Since the start of the pandemic, New Zealand has only recorded 2,400 cases of coronavirus and 26 deaths, and the country had virtually eradicated the disease by May 2020. However, snap lockdowns and restrictions can be introduced overnight when cases emerge. Last month, the final day of Wings Over Wairarapa had to be cancelled after a single unexplained case of coronavirus emerged in Auckland, around 400km away.

A statement promised that “all elements” planned for the April show will be part of the rescheduled event, and tickets already purchased will be valid for the new date.