MP Tobias Ellwood has condemned the rail strikes planned at the same time as the "flagship" Bournemouth Air Festival.  

The Bournemouth East MP is asking unions to reconsider the strike action and plans on speaking to the Minister of State for Transport.

In a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Ellwood said: “The economic damage and disruption to travel will be enormous.”

The rail strike action is happening on Friday, September 1 and Saturday, September 2, coinciding with two of the four days of Bournemouth Air Festival, which Mr Ellwood says will ‘be detrimental’ to the event.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Mr Ellwood said: “[The unions] are choosing to strike on the very weekend that is absolutely critical for Bournemouth’s economy.

“This is our flagship event that takes place once a year and is looked forward to by everybody. We’re proud to host the largest free air festival in Britain.

“I am simply encouraging the leaders to think again, because they will be not winning over any sympathy for their cause.”

Rail Union RMT and Train Drivers’ Union ASLEF have urged people to ‘only travel if absolutely necessary’ across both days, which Mr Ellwood believes may deter people from wanting to come to the event.

On Friday the strike action from ASLEF will mean the majority of the network will be closed with an ‘extremely limited service on a small number of lines’.

The strike action from RMT on Saturday will lead to a ‘reduced service on a limited number of lines’ with ‘large parts of the network closed’.

Jon Weaver, festival director, said: “There are many alternative ways to travel to the Air Festival including by bus and coach, with plenty of providers offering great prices on travel to and from Bournemouth throughout the summer.

“Although this strike action may affect a small number of travellers, I’m confident that the majority will make alternative travel arrangements to come and enjoy the air festival.”

This is the 15th year of the Bournemouth Air Festival and will feature a variety of aircrafts including the Typhoon, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Chinook, and the famous Red Arrows.