No Flying Legends Airshow in 2024

The troubled Flying Legends Airshow – often regarded as the world’s premier warbird airshow – will not return in 2024, according to a statement released by the organisers today.

After more than 20 years being held at IWM Duxford, the show, which has been looking for a new home since 2020, was re-launched at Church Fenton near Leeds in July 2023, but appeared unable to attract substantial numbers visitors. This was likely due to the comparitively more remote location, formal confirmation of the show being given much later than usual, an ominous weather forecast and the event’s chosen date clashing with the Royal International Air Tattoo.

The Fighter Collection (TFC) – the Duxford-based warbird group that runs the airhow – had tentative plans to stage another edition of Church Fenton in early July 2024. However, today, TFC’s Nick Grey said: “It is with much regret that we confirm our decision to cancel the upcoming Flying Legends Airshow 2024. This decision has not been made lightly and follows an in depth assessment of our options for the year ahead.”

He added: “We would like to thank Chris and Sally Makin and their amazing team at Church Fenton for the energy and professionalism with which they hosted Flying Legends 2023 and to thank all who participated in getting FL23 airborne at such short notice and with such conviction and panache. Let me assure you that we will not let this decision dampen our spirits as we explore our options for the future. We promise to keep you posted as we gather our thoughts for 2025 and beyond.”

The airshow has faced an uncertain future since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020 and the event was asked to leave Duxford. The Imperial War Museum said at the time that it was “mutually beneficial” for the show to move out, with the museum facing severe financial strain at the time and potentially eyeing the possibility of generating greater income by running all its airshows in-house.

After a short search for a new venue, Flying Legends announced a move to nearby Sywell for the 2021 show, but the event was ultimately cancelled at relatively short notice due to the pandemic. Sywell-based warbird collection Ultimate Warbird Flights will be hosting their own warbird-themed airshow at Sywell in 2024.

No Flying Legends Airshow was held in 2022, as a venue could not be found, but the event settled on Church Fenton in 2023 – a former RAF base which has hosted other airshows as recently as 2015. However, this year’s low spectator numbers had prompted public speculation as to whether the show could be sustainable at the site.