Air show could return to Suffolk skies for 2013

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THE return of Mildenhall Air Fete could be in sight after planning to bring back the popular aviation show in 2013 got under way.

RAF Mildenhall confirmed on Wednesday that tentative plans to bring back the show –- which pulled in more than 500,000 visitors before being cancelled in the wake of 9/11 – were being looked at.

Col Christoper Kulas, 100th Air Refueling Wing Commander, said: “We are in the early stages of an assessment to determine if an air fete event could be planned for 2013.

“Some factors under consideration include the US budgetary constraints, the massive logisitical support required, and the high operations tempo the US Air Force is maintaining globally.

“Air fete was once one of the largest military-sponsored air displays in the world and it holds high importance with us as a community awareness tool.

“Air fete is a chance to thank the surrounding communities for their continual support.”

The return of the event would come as a huge boost to Mildenhall’s business owners and hoteliers as the recession grips.

Local charities also benefit from the fete, as the base makes donations from the weekend.

Cllr Tony Wheble, chairman of Mildenhall Parish Council, said that although some found the increased congestion around the town a problem during the air fete, businesses would be over the moon.

“It would bring a lot of people into the town.

“I think the town has missed it because it brought people from all over Europe to Mildenhall.

“There are a lot of things that would have to be organised – the police would have to arrange a lot with the base – but I think more people will be happy rather than unhappy if it returned,” he said.

Joanne Rogers, Forest Heath District Council town centre manager, said the return of the show would be a ‘huge boost’ for businesses.

Plans to hold a one day community event at RAF Mildenhall were mooted in 2005. However, the show was cancelled due to financial restraints.