Chief dismisses rumours Sunderland Airshow could move to South Shields after news city was scrapping event

Council chiefs have confirmed there are no plans to take on the airshow in South Tyneside, after a neighbouring council announced it had axed the flagship event.

Huge crowds had flocked to Seaburn and Roker for the annual event in the past, which was seen to give a major economic boost to local businesses and the city as a whole.

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After being cancelled due to Covid-19 over the last three years, Sunderland City Council chiefs confirmed they were taking a “new approach” to events and that the airshow was not planned for 2023 or beyond.

The Sunderland Airshow historically attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the seafront.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, has since dismissed rumours that the event could move up the coast to South Shields.

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Instead, she explained, the local authority will continue to focus on its own events programme for residents, including its popular summer concerts in Bents Park.

“We are leading with regard to events, I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the region that do what we do with regard to our summer programme,” Cllr Dixon said.

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South Tyneside Council Leader Cllr Tracey Dixon

“It’s wonderful that people would think that South Tyneside could even consider taking the airshow on with it being such an international event.

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“But we need to focus on what is right for the borough in South Tyneside and our summer events programme is something that we will be leading on and continuing.”

Cllr Dixon, a ward councillor for Whitburn and Marsden, has worked in senior roles in the hospitality industry on Wearside and said she understood the scale of planning involved in the airshow.

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The council leader also acknowledged that taking on the airshow as a free event in South Tyneside would create additional financial pressures for the local authority.

Cllr Dixon continued: “One size does not fit all and the airshow was something that was decades in the planning for Sunderland.

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“This isn’t something that they just picked up and did within a matter of months.

“For that to even be considered that would definitely need to be built into a medium-term element rather than ‘by next July we will have an airshow in South Tyneside’.

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“I worked in Sunderland and I know the planning that goes behind all of these things.

“What we have is quite unique to South Tyneside and I think the Sunderland Airshow was something that was very unique to Sunderland.

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“But for us in South Tyneside, we will be having our usual events programme and I don’t see any change in that moving forward.

“It benefits not just our businesses but our residents enjoy it and so do our visitors.

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“If we’re building on our visitor economy, that is something that is crucial for us to continue.”