BOURNEMOUTH Air Festival will be a “massive boost” for the local economy, it is claimed, with more than 20 businesses supporting and sponsoring the event.

BCP Council expects footfall numbers to reach 700,000 over the free four-day festival.

The council devised Festival Coast Live! as an umbrella title for its summer and autumn events, including the air festival, Friday fireworks and the Arts by the Sea Fesitval.

BCP Council leader Cllr Drew Mellor said: “Since the start of 2021 we’ve been determined to make this the year of ‘bounce back’, to engineer the fastest possible recovery for businesses and for jobs – and to help people back outdoors.

“Festival Coast Live! has led the way this summer and we have no doubt that this year’s air festival will be a massive boost for everyone.

“We are delighted to have such a variety of companies and businesses behind us, from local franchises to internationally recognised leaders in their chosen fields we are proud to stage such a fantastic event.”

Returning sponsors include the Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott, supporting the Tigers Freefall Parachute Display Team; the Oceana Group of hotels, supporting the Blades Aerobatic Display Team; and the Daily Echo, producing the official air festival brochure and supporting the display of Rich Goodwin in his Super Pitts Muscle Plane.

New supporters include local business Zest Home Appliance Insurance and Repairs backing the display by the RAF Chinook, Right at Home supporting the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and Porsche Centre Bournemouth supporting the Air Festival app.

South Western Railway is the official transport provider, with an online widget to make booking rail tickets easy, and Hot Radio is official radio partner, broadcasting the event from the scene.

Atlas Elektronik UK STEM Marquee makes its debut on the East Overcliff in a bid to inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, researchers and IT specialists. It will be home to Atlas Elektronik UK, Bournemouth and Poole College, Curtiss-Wright, Draken Europe, DSTL, Explore Science, Technology and Discovery Centre, Gama Aviation, RNLI, Spherea Test and Services, Ultra and Signature TechnicAir.

Dr Susan Metcalff, head of research and innovation division at Atlas Elektronik UK, said: “The Air Festival offers a great platform to encourage really positive STEM (science technology engineering and mathematics) conversations – seeing the aircraft in the skies, the Sunseeker parade in the bay and military villages, all with that common STEM influence.”

CityFibre, the event’s Wi-Fi provider, will provide a hotspot on the East Overlciff, home to the RAF Village.

Wave105 will be “official responsible and sustainable partner”.

Festival director Jon Weaver said: “Believe it or not, over 95 per cent of CO2 emissions are not created by the display aircraft but by the number of cars coming to the event. This year we are encouraging festival goers to be the one in three that ditches the car and chooses to come to the festival by bus, train, bike or even by foot. If we all make a little change, we can help to make a big difference.”