AN ORGANISER of the Royal International Air Tattoo has hailed this weekend’s event a success which would ensure the show’s future.

He also refuted claims of traffic chaos, saying that with such a major event there was bound to be some disruption.

Tim Prince, the chief executive of RIAT and the RAF Charitable Trust, said despite changeable weather on the Sunday, the weekend was a hit with spectators.

“Generally speaking people are happy and it’s gone extremely well,” he said.

Just over 160,000 people attended the weekend air show at RAF Fairford, which raises money for the RAF Charitable Trust and included a display by the Red Arrows.

But it was reported to the Advertiser that cars were backed up as far as Stratton on Saturday morning.

Don Cooke, 73, of Dukes Field, Down Ampney, travelled into Swindon on Saturday at about 10am and said the traffic was queued all the way from RAF Fairford, through Down Ampney and on to the A419 as far back as the turn off for Honda in South Marston.

“It was horrendous,” said Mr Cooke, who believed the queues stretched to around 15 miles.

“I have never seen queues like that – it was just the sheer volume of traffic.

“People had got out of their cars chatting to one another – they have got it wrong this year.”

However, Mr Prince denied there had been problems other than the strains on the roads you would expect for such an occasion.

“It’s not as bad as it has been and the traffic flowed all the time,” he said.

“For an event where you are getting 80,000 people into one point there are going to be tailbacks, but it was managed well. We haven’t had many complaints at all about that.”

Following cancellation of the event last year due to severe rainfall, organisers spent an extra £200,000 to ensure that those problems would not be repeated.

The United States Airforce allowed a high proportion of cars to park on the airfield site and many kilometres of track were put down to ensure cars would not be stuck if there was heavy rainfall.

Another major change was to make it a completely ticketed event.

In the past, ticket holders could choose at the last minute which day they wanted to visit. This often lead to a skewed attendance and extra pressure on one day.

This year, the capacity of the roads was calculated and tickets were sold for each day accordingly.

“We have got the confidence of our public so we can carry on,” said Mr Prince.

“Given the recession there was a danger it could collapse. We have taken the right measures and proven it is a good event and can continue.”

A central attraction for the weekend was the Vulcan Bomber, which has been rebuilt by a team over the last eight years.

“This is the first time it’s performed for us for many years,” said Mr Prince.

“There’s a huge following throughout the country for this and they were not disappointed.”

There were also high-profile visitors, including the Princess Royal, Prince Michael of Kent, HRH Lieutenant General Prince Fiesal bin Hussein and Chief of the Air Staff Chief Marshall Sir Glenn Torpy and Chief of Staff USAF General Norton Schwartz.

Other guests included Matthew Lewis who plays Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films, Radio 2 broadcasters Sarah Kennedy, ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris and Alan Dedicoat.

The event attracted 269 aircraft from 33 air arms, representing 22 nations.

Since its inception in 2005, the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises, which organises the Air Tattoo, given £1.3m to the Charitable Trust.

To date the trust has approved £895,000 worth of grants supporting a range of projects benefiting the RAF family of charities as was as serving personnel and air cadets.

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