THE excitement, anticipation and relief was palpable as the day finally came for the Bournemouth Air Festival to return.

It had been 733 days since the spectacular aerobatics events entertained seafront crowds and how it had been missed.

The festival launched yesterday morning with the official opening ceremony at the Highcliff Marriott Hotel on the West Cliff, with senior members of the armed forces and BCP Council in attendance.

Air festival director Jon Weaver told the Daily Echo: “It’s literally a dream come true.

“Five or six weeks ago we weren’t too sure what was going to happen and we were saying ‘maybe, maybe’ and then ‘it’s happening’.

“When you come here and see the two Typhoon do a flypast, you think ‘wow, we are going to make it happen’.

“It is an incredible feeling of achievement. Not just for me, but for the events team, colleagues in BCP Council, emergency services, Public Health Dorset, who have put an incredible amount of effort in to try and bring this to the town. Without that effort and what we have had to do – we have had to organise this event in about five weeks predominantly, which would normally take about three months.

“Without that support we wouldn’t have got here and that’s what people need to know."

Discussing the festival line-up, he said: “We have got the Reds back for four days – we haven’t had that for five years. Typhoon is back for four days but doing daytime and its wonderful night-time performances. Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is here, we love the old favourites. The WingWalkers, the Blades and the Tigers Parachute Team, so it is a really good show.

“It is four solid days of air displays. We normally warm up for two hours and then we go three and four, but we right in there with three to four hours every day, so it is great opportunity for people to choose which day they want to come to and enjoy that afternoon and evening, “Also the other things like the STEM tent and the armed forces villages. Find out about all the local companies and career opportunities in technology and engineering. We are really pushing that.

“The last lovely nuance is the Sunseeker flotilla that we are seeing on Saturday. It will be a lovely show for people to enjoy. It is great to have it back."

Air festival organisers have been encouraging attendees to consider using public transport and more sustainable methods of transport to make it down to the event this year.

Mr Weaver said how people came to and from the festival was vital to tackling the environmental impact.

“A lot of local residents for many, many years have taken the bus in, which is fantastic, but also people who are coming in from the region should try and look at alternative forms of transport, like train and coach, because of the seven thousand tonnes of CO2 that was emitted in 2019, over 95 per cent was generated by people coming in," he said.

“In terms of Covid measures, we have a lot more beach this year because of sand replenishment. Use the beach app, find the areas that are quieter for you, where you can sit and enjoy.

“Make sure you use the sanitiser stations, wash your hands, keep making sure you are aware but you can still enjoy.”