Header image courtesy of Terry Ryder – Article last updated July 24th 2023
No Biggin Hill Festival of Flight for 2023?
**Please note – We’re not affiliated with the Biggin Hill Airshow in any way (we just love planes!) so we’re unable to answer any phone or email questions you may have about why the 2023 Biggin Hill Airshow doesn’t appear to be going ahead.
After no airshow in 2020 and 2021 for Blindingly Obvious reasons, and no mention of a show in 2022, the same appears to be the case this year for 2023 i.e. it doesn’t look like there will be one this year. If you’ve stumbled upon this post because you were hoping to find out when it was taking place or where to get tickets we’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
Surprisingly, it’s been quite hard to get a definitive answer as there is scant information available and we’ve been unable to unearth any confirmation or statement from the organisers of the event in previous years. All we’ve found is dead links to websites and the Facebook page. So, because of the above, we assume that the Biggin Hill Airshow of 2023 won’t be happening.
In previous years, we were always keen to write about the upcoming airshow and what aircraft were scheduled to appear, so if you’d like to see what was on in 2019 then continue reading. The rest of the post below also contains info about the general history of Biggin Hill
Archive of our old post below
Since the 1960s, the Biggin Hill airshow was a defining part of every summer for local residents and the skies were always filled with a huge variety of different aircraft.
At one time, The Biggin Hill International Air Show (or Biggin Hill Festival of Flight as it’s now known) was one of the biggest airshows in the world, and certainly the biggest one of its kind in Europe. However, things came to an abrupt end in 2010 and the summer skies over Biggin Hill became much quieter as a result.
Fortunately, a much-needed resurrection took place in 2014, with a new, scaled-down version of the original classic air show which was now dubbed ‘The Biggin Hill Festival of Flight’.
In 2017, the show was a bit special as it was the airport’s centenary; it’s hard to believe that Biggin Hill has been around for well over 100 years!
Another Centenary for 2018
2018 also celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the RAF.
The 2019 Biggin Hill Airshow
If you’re hoping there will be an airshow in 2024, then here is how things went down in 2019 so any future airshows at Biggin Hill are likely to be similar, although prices will undoubtedly be higher.
The 2019 was a must-see attraction for Kent residents and those prepared to travel from further afield. Originally scheduled for just one day, the new event now spanned 2 days.
It was originally held around the end of June but was moved to later in the summer to hopefully help with the weather, which, as always can be a bit hit-and-miss.
Biggin Hill Prices / Entrance Fees – How much did it cost?
The price for 2019 was the same as the previous year’s price and the standard ticket price was the same for either Saturday or Sunday. For those over 16 years of age, the ticket price (valid for 1 day only) was £23.50 as long as you booked in advance. If you left booking too late, you had to pay the non-discounted price, which was £29.
For kids under 15, the good news was that 2 of them could get in for free if they were with an adult (i.e. 2 kids free per 1 adult). Also, be aware that no dogs were allowed (except for Guide Dogs for the blind / Assistance Dogs) but there was disabled parking (subject to availability).
For those who could afford it, there are also child-friendly Hospitality Tickets and the gold package included a vegetarian and vegan option. There was a kids’ barbeque (ages 5-15), a sumptuous marquee with its own garden and a bar for the grown-ups. The Hospitality package included a separate entrance and car park and also had executive toilets.
What you got for your Hospitality depended on the amount you paid. These types of tickets ranged from £25 (for kids 5-15 with the bronze package) up to £115 for an adult-only Sunday Gold ticket. These types of tickets were limited so booking early was always recommended as they often sold out before the date of the airshow.
In previous years’ free parking to Biggin Hill airfield was included if you had a valid ticket, so you weren’t stung with any additional, unexpected costs when you turned up at the gate – We can’t confirm that this will be the case in future so it may be wise to make your own enquiries prior to booking future tickets should the airshow go ahead next year.
Warning about turning up without a ticket
Previously, you couldn’t gain access to the air show on the day without a valid ticket; they HAD TO be bought in advance.
Where did you buy tickets for the Biggin Hill Airshow?
You could purchase tickets for the airshow in 2019 from a 3rd party vendor. This year, however, there is no reference to the 2023 Festival of Flight
What was on for the 2019 air display? A list of aircraft
Below were some of the aircraft scheduled to appear:
- BBMF Spitfire (Mk TBC)
- Breitling Jets Flying Display
- The Blades
- RAF Typhoon
- BBMF Dakota
- Extra Duo
- P47D Thunderbolt
- RAF Tucano
- BBMF Lancaster
- P51 Mustang
- BBMF Hurricane
- Turbulent Team
- Wing Walkers
- Royal Jordanian Falcons
Previously, there was huge disappointment at the 2017 event when it was announced that aircraft with Merlin engines would not be appearing at both Biggin Hill and the Eastbourne Airshow. This was due to a fault being discovered with a single engine, leading to all of them being grounded.
The 2018 line-up
- Spitfire Mk IX ‘Spirit of Kent’
- Red Arrows
- RAF Chinook
- Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
- OV10 Bronco
- Rich Goodwin Pitts Special
- Spitfire Mk IX MH434
- Hawker Hurricane
- Bristol Blenheim
- Spitfire PR MkXI
History of Biggin Hill and the Airshow
Squadron Leader Jock Maitland had the bright idea of purchasing a lease to run Biggin Hill Airport from Bromley Council in 1958. A few years later in 1963, he started the Biggin Hill air show.
He’d already flown Sabres in Korea before retiring from the RAF and went on to start a small charter company to run pleasure flights from Ramsgate Airport in the late 50s and early 60s.
The Council takes over in 1988
The council privatised the airport in 1988 and it was subsequently bought by Biggin Hill Airport Ltd in 1994. A 25-year contract for the Biggin Hill Air Fair was then agreed upon.
Developments in 2010
Despite being due to run until 2013, the leaseholders cancelled the agreement 3 years before its natural expiry. At that time, the air show had been running for 47 years but this brought things to an abrupt halt.
Rising from the ashes
2014 saw the rebirth of a scaled-down version of the original event and was rebranded as the Biggin Hill Festival of Flight. Originally running for only single Saturday, it was limited to 15,000 spectators and was intended to showcase Biggin Hill’s historic past alongside its value as a modern, thriving airport for commercial customers.
The Red Arrows
Many of us living in Kent will be familiar with the sight of the Red Arrows flying over us several times throughout the summer months as they put on displays at various airshows throughout Kent, its neighbouring counties and indeed, the occasional Central London celebration flypast.
They’re ubiquitous and typically always one of the main attractions at many airshows with Biggin Hill being no exception. They appeared at the 2014 air fair and were also celebrating 50 years of their acrobatic air displays. It’s also worth mentioning that Biggin Hill was the location of their very first display way back in 1965.
Biggin Hill during World War Two
Biggin Hill was a well-known and historic station for fighter planes in WW2 and it’s well known for its part in the world-renowned Battle of Britain. It stayed operational throughout the war despite being a main target for attack from mainland Europe. At the start of the war in 1939, a squadron from Biggin Hill shot down their first aircraft of WW2, a Dornier Do17.
When we’re not busy gazing skyward, we’re out and about fitting made to measure blinds throughout Kent, including Biggin Hill