Ambitious plans are afoot to stage an air display in Tramore which the organisers say could attract up to 40,000 spectators and generate close to €400,000 for the local economy.
Among those behind the proposal, provisionally set for August 30 next, a Sunday, is Mr Michael Nolan, an Air Traffic Control Officer at Waterford Airport. He has written to Tramore Town Council and Waterford County Council seeking support for the venture which, he says, would cost about €60,000 to stage. Permission is also required for use of The Promenade as a viewing area.
Mr Nolan said Tramore was an ideal location, with several advantages considering the aerial aspect of an air display, which in this instance would take place entirely over water along the seafront.
Among the attractions is the ample space available to accommodate free movement of a large volume of spectators who would have continuous view of displaying aircraft. The amphitheatre created by the Bay location would provide for better visual and sound effects from the aircraft. And the proximity of Waterford Airport would allow most of the aircraft to operate from there and facilitate safe and efficient integration of operations between the air display and the airport.
As for the support sought from the two Councils, Mr Nolan said such backing could come in the form of funding, supply of resources or promotion of the event.
“This is an exciting opportunity to introduce a new and dynamic spectacle to the area”, he enthused. “A seaside air show has never before been staged in the region. The event carries broad audience appeal and does not emphasise alcohol consumption to draw and entertain the spectators. Rather is it a family day out.
“It is a certain crowd puller and would be of great benefit to the local tourist economy, as well as boosting the profile of the resort, the county and the wider region. It would also promote the important role aviation plays in the south east, especially the search and rescue services and such an event should be considered a potentially significant local asset”.
As for the boost it would represent to Tramore’s economy, Mr Nolan said many of the participating aircraft personnel would require prior practice sessions. Therefore pilots, crews, families, friends and visitors would start arriving on the Friday and hotels, bars and restaurants would benefit from a weekend-long trade boost.
While in an ideal world, a single large corporate sponsor would be preferable, the organisers feel that in the current economic climate they will have to seek financial aid from a cross section of local and possibly national businesses, as well as the local authorities and bodies such as Failte Ireland and Tramore and Waterford Chambers of Commerce.
Former Mayor of Tramore, Town Councillor Joe Conway, feels the air show would represent a welcome boost to the resort’s profile as well as its economy. “Given half-decent weather conditions it could prove a tremendous attraction, in which case it might well become an annual event which would constitute a significant late-season business boost for local traders. That’s apart from the obvious entertainment such a show has to offer, so if it comes to pass it will be most welcome on several fronts”, he commented.