THE first day of 2023’s Bournemouth Air Festival slowly lifted off after being hit by bad weather, but crowds still turned out to have fun. 

Low clouds and rain meant a full flying schedule could not be held and some acts had to be cancelled in the opening hours of the festival. 

Despite the weather, visitors to Bournemouth along with BCP residents turned up early to bag a spot along the seafront to see the Red Arrows put on a truncated display.

Read more: Live updates as Bournemouth Air Festival gets underway 

A ceremony was held on Thursday morning to mark the opening of the event, which is due to conclude on Sunday. 

Representatives from BCP Council, the Royal Navy, RAF and Army attended along with pilots and engineers. 

Speaking at the ceremony to the Echo, festival director Jon Weaver said he was optimistic that the weather would pass. 

He said: “The weather is looking okay, but we will see. Luckily, the weather on Friday, Saturday and Sunday is looking great for us. 

“The pilots are coming in – some are still trying fly in with the weather, but they will all be here by [Friday].” 

Mr Weaver thanked visitors for their patience, adding: “Displays that have had to sadly be cancelled today due to the weather include the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Rolls Royce Spitfire and Mustang displays and the Firefly.  

“One of the best things about our free family-friendly event is that it runs over four days with plenty of entertainment on land as well as in the sky, so visitors will have a huge choice of things to see and do today, and the rest of the weekend.” 

As patches of blue sky showed up in the early evening, the Red Arrows, who some had feared would be forced to pull out, took to the skies with their famous display. 

The festival continues until Sunday.