Great Britain

One of Scotland's biggest airshows has been axed over a funding row

The Scottish International Airshow was due to take place over three days in September, in Ayr, South Ayrshire, and was expected to draw crowds of more than 100,000 spectators.
The Scottish International Airshow was due to take place over three days in September, in Ayr, South Ayrshire, and was expected to draw crowds of more than 100,000 spectators.

One of Scotland's biggest airshows has been axed over a funding row.

The Scottish International Airshow was due to take place over three days in September, in Ayr, South Ayrshire, and was expected to draw crowds of more than 100,000 spectators.

It was last held two years ago - but will not go ahead after a row broke out between organisers and South Ayrshire Council (SAC).

The local authority made an advance payment of £80,000 'in error' - but claims organisers blew the cash on paying off debts from 2018.

READ MORE - Coronavirus strikes Tenerife hotel as travellers returning from Italy told to self-isolate

It claims organisers were asked on two occasions in December how the cash had been spent, but were kept in the dark - and requests for repayment were not met.

Earlier this month, on February 5, the council claimed 'it was clear that the £80,000 was being used to pay off debts from the 2018 event'.

But the version of events was hotly contested by organisers, who insisted there had been no breach of contract.

In a strongly-worded statement, a spokesman for SAC said it was 'shocked' the organisers would use the payment to try to pay off debts - and were forced to pull the plug on the event.

The statement said: "We are disappointed that the organisers of The Scottish International Airshow have breached their funding agreement with us.

"This has left us with no choice other than to withdraw our funding for The Scottish International Airshow, and to terminate our contract with the event organisers.

"The organisers were unable to confirm to us that they could run the 2020 event in line with the agreement, and we are shocked that they still have outstanding payments due to creditors for the 2018 event.

READ MORE - Four Airbnbs in one single Edinburgh tenement told to stop operating by the council

"We have agreed that if the organisers don't pay their outstanding bills for the 2018 event, or refund their creditors, we will request repayment of the £80,000.

"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."

A statement from organisers Danny Anderson and Doug Maclean said: "We now have no choice but to cancel all the aircraft and displays booked for the 2020 Airshow.

"We have to cancel hundreds of hotel rooms and dozens of sub contractors who would have brought significant economic and tourism benefits to Ayrshire once again.

"We will be contacting everyone who has bought pitches or tickets and arranging refunds."

It added: "There were no breaches of the Airshow contract.

"The payment that was made to start the Airshow work for 2020 was not made in error.

"It was fully discussed between the Airshow and the council.

"We understand it was then discussed within the council and authorised under their normal processes."

They thanked attendees who had attended the show over the past five years, and added: " We hope that we've inspired a next generation of pilots, engineers and aviation enthusiasts and given you all great family memories."