BCP Council would be “happy” to pay for next year’s Bournemouth Air Festival if it was half the cost, the leader has said. 

Leader of the council Vikki Slade has said the council “cannot afford it anymore” as it looks to fill a £44m gap to avoid bankruptcy. 

Speaking during a Q&A session, Cllr Slade said: “The income comes from everything from selling programmes, sponsorship, hospitality, traders, ice cream sales, parking and park and ride. 

Bournemouth Echo:

“The net cost is between £400k and £500k a year and we can’t afford that anymore - I have been very clear that we will not be paying that level going forward. 

“I am very happy to continue to run an air show next year at half the cost as a temporary measure to move it to a cost-neutral position.

Read more: Cancelling Bournemouth Air Festival 'will lead to protests'

“That is why we have been working with outside bodies such as the Destination and Tourism board, the BIDs, the hotels, Red Arrows Association and events companies to try and make it add up. 

“If we can make it add up, we can carry on. But we can’t go into bankruptcy to save the air festival. 

Bournemouth Echo:

“We know it generates nearly £30m for the wider economy – but not for the council. 

She added the council may even crowdfund for the four-day event, saying “if you love it, why don’t you stick £20 in”. 

“If a family of four are going for three days, that’s a bargain.” 

As reported, provisional dates for next year’s air festival have been set for four days between Thursday, August 29 and Sunday, September 1 2024. 

A report into what steps should be taken next will be put forward to the cabinet in November. 

Residents have been split on what they think should happen going forward.

Some people say it should go ahead as it provides a massive tourist boost at the end of the summer season. 

Others say they are bored of the festival and that if the council were being sensible about its finances, it should not go ahead.