INDEPENDENT NEWS

Decision to postpone Rotorua air show heartbreak

Published: Sun 13 Dec 2009 12:10 PM
       NEWS RELEASE
           SATURDAY 12 DECEMBER 2009
Decision to postpone  Rotorua air show heartbreaking say organisers
ROTORUA 12.12.09: The organisers of  today's [Saturday] Let’s Go Rotorua Lakefront Air Show say it was a heartbreaking decision to cancel the show but in the end poor weather meant it could not proceed safely.  The air show was to be part of Rotorua's celebrations around today's start to direct international flights between Rotorua and Sydney.
Events & Venues Rotorua general manager Peter McLeod said the decision to cancel was made at 5.30am this morning when the weather conditions and the latest forecasts clearly indicated there was little chance the various aircraft involved would be able to get to Rotorua.
He said rain and low cloud was widespread in the central North Island, and in Rotorua the conditions would not have allowed the air show to proceed.
‘We had aircraft coming from Auckland, Tauranga, Palmerston North and New Plymouth and all fly under VFR rules rather than by instruments, meaning they required an appropriate cloud ceiling before they could take to the air. The exception was the DC3 aircraft which flies under instruments, and could still get to Rotorua where passengers had booked four scenic flights over the city.
“The poor weather that continued throughout the day has supported the decision we had to make early in the morning to pull the plug on today's event.
“All of us involved in organising the air show are gutted that we had to make the tough call to cancel the aerial carnival but in the end safety was the paramount consideration. It simply would not have been possible for aircraft to fly safely in such poor weather conditions.”
As soon as the decision was made Events and Venues Rotorua arranged for radio messages to be broadcast about the cancellation throughout the morning in Rotorua, Tauranga, Whakatane and Taupo.
Mr McLeod said he recognised that the announcements may not have reached everybody and he extended his apologies to anyone inconvenienced.
“We especially apologise to those who may have spent some time travelling from out of town and may have commenced their journey before hearing cancellation notices.”
Mr McLeod paid tribute to the air show's dedicated team of organisors and sponsors and said they collectively put in a huge amount of work to make the show happen.
“While we are all hugely disappointed at having to can the event after weeks of hard work behind the scenes, we are hopeful that these efforts won’t be wasted. We’re certainly keen to try again to make the show happen on another date and we’ll be having discussions with those pilots who had been committed to the postponed show.
“It would be a shame not to be able to present an airshow spectacular for the people of Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty. However any decision about a possible replacement date will likely be some weeks away," he said.
[Ends]

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