Monday 11 December 2017 05:57:47 AM

Festival of Flight Draws Record Crowd to Newcastle
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Assemblyman Rogers Says Festival Of Flight was Organised Impeccably

AS Newcastle reflects over one of the biggest tourism events in Northern Ireland this year, South Down SDLP MLA Seán Rogers has praised the Officers and Councillors involved from Down District Council on a highly successful event.

Mr Rogers said, “The event was organised impeccably from the launch on Saturday morning in the grounds of the majestic Slieve Donard to the 90 second count down with the Red Arrows sweeping by on the shout of one.

Down District Council Councillor Maria McCarthy pictured in from of the Typhoon replica model in the Aviation Village in Newcastle.

Down District Council Councillor Maria McCarthy pictured in from of the Typhoon replica model in the Aviation Village in Newcastle.

“The town was packed with locals and visitors alike from early on Saturday morning with traders setting up stalls outside their shop fronts.

“There was an amazing buzz around the whole town and I am delighted that some local businesses have reported increased sales from last year – this is what the festival is all about – building upon the good work and success of the previous year.  So I wish to congratulate all involved in a truly enjoyable day.

“I have, however, received complaints in respect of the traffic wardens.  I do appreciate that there is a delicate balance between keeping the free flow of traffic and accommodating visitors.  Back in May I had approached the Minister for Regional Development by way of an Assembly Question calling for additional park and ride facilities during the summer months – this request was denied due to cost prohibitions.  I will continue to press DRD in respect of additional parking provision – especially during events such as the Festival of Flight.”

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CHECK OUT FESTIVAL OF FLIGHT PHOTOS ON THIS LINK

Councillor Carmel O’Boyle Congratulates All On Great Festival

The Newcastle seafront was packed as visitors waited to see the air show.

The Newcastle seafront was packed as visitors waited to see the air show.

Speaking after the Festival of Flight, Newcastle area SDLP Councillor Carmel O’Boyle said: “I have just seen aerial photographs of the crowds attending the Festival of Flight in Newcastle, and it struck me that the figure of 130,000 visitors was an underestimate of the numbers who came to our town.

“Our fourth Festival of Flight has proved to be another triumph for Down District Council and for our Newcastle Chamber of Commerce. And none of it would have been possible without our main sponsor B/E Aerospace.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of our Council staff who were working throughout the whole day to make this event the huge success that it was, and our cleansing staff are to be particularly commended for the work that they did.

“I want to thank all of the emergency services, the PSNI and the Fire and Rescue Service;  St John’s Ambulance staff and the Coastguard for their presence and for the part they played in our wonderful event.  Thank you to all of our Newcastle business people and their staff for looking after our thousands of visitors in such a friendly and capable way.

The Red Arrows in action over Newcastle during the Festival of Flight.

The Red Arrows in action over Newcastle during the Festival of Flight.

“Every year is a learning experience and while there were a number of issues related to parking, these will be addressed and ironed out in time for next year. Saturday was a great success, and while there will be complaints, because I have heard some of them already, we will see how these can be avoided next year.

“In the meantime, I have arranged a meeting in Newcastle on Thursday to be attended by members of Newcastle Chamber and other businesses, as well as Council officers, to plan for our Hallowtides Festival in October.

“If we are to promote our Newcastle businesses and protect the jobs of people in our town, then we have to keep moving forward together. I know that the running of such an ambitious event as the Festival of Flight will have inconvenienced some people, but I believe that it is for the greater good that we do what we do for Newcastle.”

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Newcastle Chamber Plays Key Role

Newcastle business woman, Audrey Byrne of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, said: “This event was a huge success and proves what can be done when we all work together.  The theme this year was ‘Cabin  Crews’ and many shopkeepers and staff dressed up in support which added to the overall atmosphere on the day.

“Chamber members did make a financial contribution to the Festival of Flight and we now have an executive group set up to bring key developments and events forward in the future.

“It is vital for the business future of Newcastle that we continue to strive forward with such quality events which all help to maintain the economic fabric of the town. We will be planning ahead and hoping that one day Newcastle will become Northern Ireland’s premier tourism destination.

Aviation fans in Newcastle during the Festival of Flight.

Aviation fans in Newcastle during the Festival of Flight.

“We need bigger and better tourism products and the festival of Flight was exactly the sort of event we are capable of producing. With RPA and Council mergers fast approaching, we do need to be looking at the future and there has never been a greater ned than now to get the Chamber moving to secure the future of Newcastle.

“I would like to pay a special tribute to Down District Council and Event Organiser Ann Moreland who managed once again to produce a fantastic day in Newcastle.”

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Alliance Councillor Clarke Says Festival Is A Major Success
Newcastle Alliance  Councillor Patrick Clarke was also delighted at the Festival of Flight and said: “With over an estimated 100,000 people visiting Newcastle the Red Arrows were once again the leading aviation attraction in Newcastle on Saturday 10 August flying in over the Mournes and across Dundrum Bay with the style and precision that has earned them global reputation and respect.
“Donard Park had been transformed into an Aviation Village which was packed with themed attractions and stands where aviation enthusiasts and visitors could experience at first hand all there is to know. I think it was a really special day in Newcastle as the Festival of Flight attracted so many visitors into the seaside town which made it the best air show display yet.  Judging by the many people packing the pavements along Main Street and the promenade in and out of local shops and businesses it would appear that the majority of Newcastle traders had a bumper day.
“Such is the major success of the free Festival of Flight annual spectacle in Newcastle run by Down District Council that the event has now become a major tourism attraction in Northern Ireland with visitors attending from across UK and Ireland.
 “I would like to congratulate the organisers and all the staff of Down District Council and the various other organisations including the various emergency services which helped make the Festival of Flight in Newcastle one of the biggest and best air show displays to date,”  added Councillor Clarke.