THE Bournemouth Air Festival provides one of the biggest shots in the arm for businesses across the conurbation, event organisers say.

Since 2008, more than 8.5 million people have been entertained by almost 140 hours of display flying performed by more than 55 teams.

Over the past decade the number of business partners - local, regional and national traders - has also increased.

Top companies now involved in the event include Hyundai, Coors, Kier, Nintendo and Polaroid.

And this year the Daily Echo is sponsoring the return of the Tigers Freefall Team.

Air Festival director Jon Weaver said: "It is great that so many well-known brands have taken advantage of the air festival platform and have seen that we offer a great number of marketing brand engagement and activation opportunities."

Meanwhile, Sunseeker Talent Manager Alex Bowman said: "The air festival is the biggest opportunity to target such a high concentration of BH postcode residents in just four days. Sunseeker International, based in Poole, is recruiting across the business and we are delighted to be supporting the appearance of the Chinook."

Cumberland and Oceana Group are supporting the MiG jets and the Vampire Pair; Morgan Sindall is supporting the Red Arrows; and the Bournemouth-based Createful Digital Agency is backing festival favourites The Blades.

Createful founder Kriss Bennett said: "For us as a local digital agency, the opportunity to work alongside such a flagship event for the town was an obvious choice.

"We have had great fun with the organisers designing the website and saw the added value of creating a flying display programme app.

"It is a new digital initiative for 'on the go' information' and we hope it is a success."

Bournemouth Airport is supporting the return of the Strikemaster and Strikemaster pair.

The Littledown Centre is supporting the iconic SallyB.