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Airshow could return to Fife as organisers eye Kirkcaldy venue for cancelled event

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Organisers of the Scottish International Airshow have said they are keen to bring the event to Fife next year after the gathering in Ayr was cancelled.

Supporters say the move would bring a crowd of around 100,000 to Kirkcaldy’s Esplanade to see attractions including the Red Arrows taking to the sky above the Forth.

However, Fife Council has yet to commit to supporting the event.

Airshow director Doug Maclean said: “I wrote to Fife Council in December and they said they would get back to me.

“We’ve done quite a lot of preliminary work in Kirkcaldy. We’ve had the flying director in the town. He was very complimentary of the venue. And we’ve had discussions with air traffic control at Edinburgh Airport. It’s close to the approach path to Edinburgh Airport but the airport have been quite accommodating.

“We could also use Fife Airport in Glenrothes, which would be a base for light aircraft.

“We can only really run something like this with a local authority who would like to have it because there needs to be a lot of planning.”

The Scottish International Airshow has been held at Ayr since 2014, when it took the baton from the RAF Leuchars Airshow.

Leuchars Airshow signs off in style

The event did not go ahead last September following a disagreement over funding.

South Ayrshire Council said £80,000 had been paid in advance to the organisers “in error” and there were “outstanding bills” from the 2018 event.

The day I went from Leuchars to Inverness in 15 minutes in a Tornado jet – then hit 25,000ft above the North Sea

Mr Maclean has maintained the £80,000 was an agreed payment, adding: “There are no outstanding bills.”

He said: “There’s quite a lot of stuff happening in the background. We’re involved in a rather unpleasant public dispute that we didn’t really want but that’s the way it happened.

“We could very easily be back in Ayr but we could equally very easily be back in Kirkcaldy.

VIDEO: Families, veterans and plane-spotters among crowd as Tornados fly over Leuchars for final time

“Ayr said they would prefer to have it every two years and it would make sense to alternate it between Kirkcaldy and Ayr.”

A spokeswoman for South Ayrshire Council said: “We have a duty to make sure that public money is used only for agreed purposes, and in line with the correct processes .

“With the combination of the organisers failing to respond to our requests for information, and their breaches of the agreement, we were left with no choice but to terminate the contract, and withdraw public funding from the event.”

Gordon Mole, head of business and employability at Fife Council, said: “We were originally approached by the airshow organisers in 2018 about potentially hosting a show.

“We have asked the organisers to provide more detail before any decision would be made on bringing such an event to Fife.”

However, Labour councillor Neil Crooks, who is the convener of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, said an airshow was “not on our agenda at all”.

He said: “There would be an awful lot do to, to make something like that happen, and a significant amount of public money, which at the moment is in scarce supply.

“There are a lot more pressing things to address compared to something as ambitious as an airshow.

“It’s not just the money, it’s the logistics as well.”

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