Sunderland International Airshow

The Sunderland International Airshow is the biggest free annual airshow in Europe, held at the Roker and Seaburn seafronts. It takes place over the course of three days, usually the final weekend in July (Friday to Sunday), and attracts around 2,000,000 spectators every year.[1] The airshow features a large number of planes, including the Red Arrows and the Eurofighter Typhoon. In addition to the planes, the seafront plays host to a range of food counters, stalls and fairground games. The Royal Navy traditionally have a warship off the coast every year, usually HMS Ocean, the adopted warship of Sunderland, however in 2007, HMS Albion made an appearance instead as HMS Ocean had other commitments. The airshow was first held in 1989 as a single day show, and was planned to be a one-off event, when it attracted 250,000 spectators. Due to its success, from 1991 it became a two-day show, and subsequently three days. Due to thick fog and mist in 2008, the airshow was cancelled, nothing flew. Some aviation fans stayed the whole weekend. The Friday night launch, which started back in 2010, shows sunset displays for the majority of the night, but the night is rounded off with gliders with sparklers (used in fireworks) during the "settling down" period, and then a large firework display ends it all.[2]

Sunderland International Airshow
Avro Vulcan XH558, the last flying Vulcan Bomber, makes its first appearance at the Sunderland Airshow on 25 July 2009
GenreAir show
Location(s)Sunderland, England
Coordinates54.929°N 1.364°W / 54.929; -1.364
CountryUnited Kingdom
AttendanceOver 1 million (over a two-day period)
Organised bySunderland City Council


Newcastle International Airport was used as the main base for the displaying aircraft up until 2007 and again from 2014 as Tees Valley Airport (the interim base for all but the more prestigious displaying aircraft 2007–14) was going into decline, and as well it seemed right to depart from Newcastle Airport, as they are an official sponsor of the event.

The Green Airshow

In 2007 Sunderland City Council teamed up with Gentoo and CarbonNeutral North East to reduce and offset all the emissions caused by staging the two-day show. There was a Green Village with many environmental stalls.


The show has had many highlights over the years, including:[3]


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