The RAF Red Arrows have confirmed rumours that they will undertake a Canadian tour this year, while announcing the launch of their 60th anniversary season.
The tour to Canada, which was planned at the invitation of the Royal Canadian Air Force, includes four airshows and runs over five weeks in August and September. The tour schedule is as follows:
|Aug 31-Sep 1
|Canadian International Air Show (CIAS)
|Aero Gatineau-Ottawa Airshow
|SkyDrive Airshow London (ASL)
The Red Arrows will perform alongside the Canadian Forces Snowbirds at all four shows. Notably, in Gatineau, they will also join the Thunderbirds, making Gatineau the only North American airshow of the year to feature a triple jet team headliner.
Additionally, flypasts are planned in St John’s, Ottawa, Niagara Falls and Montréal.
Wing Commander Adam Collins, Officer Commanding of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said: “The Red Arrows are excited, and honoured, to return to Canada in 2024 to help celebrate the centennial of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The visit will highlight the strength of the long and enduring partnership between the United Kingdom’s military and Canada’s Armed Forces.”
A schedule for their European display season has not been announced, but is due “shortly,” the Red Arrows said; normally, it is released in March.
European displays will take place from late May until mid-August, with more in early October. This is less disruptive than UK airshow fans initially feared; a previous remark on the team’s website had warned that the team would not be available for European displays beyond the end of July. However, it will still be detrimental for many UK airshows, with seaside events such as those in Eastbourne, Bournemouth, Clacton, Jersey, Southport, Ayr and Portrush being hit especially hard; there is no obvious alternative headliner that would be capable of drawing the triple-figure crowds that many of these events usually attract.
Folkestone’s annual air display, usually held in August, has been cancelled as a direct result of the Red Arrows’ unavailability.
Today, we’re setting out plans for the #RedArrows’ 60th Diamond Season including:
🔴 Unveiling special artwork on our Hawks
⚪️ Announcing a Canada tour for the @RCAF_ARC centennial
🔵 A new show to celebrate our heritage and inspire the future
— Red Arrows (@rafredarrows) February 9, 2024
As well as announcing their Canadian tour, the Red Arrows also showed off special anniversary decals that will be worn by their Hawk jets this year and confirmed earlier reporting by This is Flight that the display will revive old manoeuvres “not seen in a generation”.
The 2024 display season will be a special one for another reason, too: this year will see the team return to their traditional nine-ship strength for the first time since 2021. This follows two seasons operating with fewer aircraft than normal, because of a mix of scandals, resignations, injuries and a lack of training capacity.
The Red Arrows are not the only European aerobatic team visiting North America this year; Italy’s Frecce Tricolori will undertake a two-month tour from late June to late August, with stops in both Canada and the USA.