Published: 12:01, 14 February 2016
Herne Bay air show organisers fear a hike in fees could stunt the event’s growth in future years.
Leaders at the BayPromoTeam, who brought almost 70,000 people to the town for last year’s show, have reacted to fees imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority.
They are calling on people to sign a petition asking the authority to rethink their charges imposed on the 2016 season.
Show organiser Gerald McCarthy said: “We don’t want to scaremonger.
“It’s not going to necessarily threaten this year’s air show as such but over a longer term, if we want to scale the event up, bigger air shows are going to suffer.
“We would like people to join us in opposing these fees if possible.”
Mr McCarthy thinks the charges – which are currently out for consultation – could cost the air show an extra £7,000 in costs.
The extra cash would be imposed by the authority as it aims to enhance aviation safety.
Mr McCarthy added: “These charges will threaten the future of the event hugely, possibly adding an extra £7,000 cost to the event – simply event insurance cover alone is £5,000 – and I have written to the CAA strongly advising them to reconsider these fees.
“Reading between the lines it seems that the CAA needs to simply become more efficient with its own financial recovery procedures, as these appear to be unrelated fees, and the tragedy at Shoreham is the vehicle they are using as a springboard to a new fee schedule.
“Safety is, and must always be paramount, but these fees threaten air shows up and down the country that have been enjoyed by millions of people over decades.”
Mr McCarthy is now encouraging people to sign the petition.
He added that the outcome of the show’s bid to get the Red Arrows to return this year has yet to be confirmed.
He said: “Our event is a free seafront airshow; a profit is not made from it, the town and wider community benefits from it.
“Large commercial ticketed affairs may be better placed to absorb these fees – and will of course also be reluctant – but the CAA must take a good look at itself before asking air show organisers to finance what seems to be its own procedural shortcomings.”