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Record crowds forced air show to lock out fans

PUBLISHED: 17:28 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:37 12 August 2010

ORGANISERS of a world famous aviation event had to close their gates on disappointed customers after attendance hit record levels. More than 120,000 people flocked to the Biggin Hill International Air Fair, last weekend, 20,000 more than last year. Aft

ORGANISERS of a world famous aviation event had to close their gates on disappointed customers after attendance hit record levels.

More than 120,000 people flocked to the Biggin Hill International Air Fair, last weekend, 20,000 more than last year.

After record numbers last Saturday, organisers had to close the gates at approximately 3.30pm on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the show said they are investigating the reasons behind closing the gates, to prevent it from happening next year.

He said: "We did have some disappointed customers and we want to apologise to them.

"We are conducting a review on traffic management. We had to shut the gates mid-afternoon on Sunday as there were too many people trying to get in. It is not what we wanted to do.

"It was an absolutely magnificent show."

This year's air show coincided with the 90th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Air Force.

Scores of the London Indian community enjoyed the first British appearance of the Sarangs - the Indian Air Force's helicopter display team which had a peacock paint theme.

A French Air Force Mirage 2000 won the award for the best individual display.

The best team trophy was awarded to the Spitfire and Mustang flown by Paul Bonhomme and Nigel Lamb.

Shows by the Breitling and Blades display teams wowed the crowds, together with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Before the popular event, organisers opened the doors early to more than 540 school and college students last Friday for the Air Show Youth Day.

The youngsters, aged 14 to 18, were introduced to careers teams and the emergency services and were given free access to the show.

Many had a sneak preview of the display aircraft, went in simulators and met RAF frontline squadrons and police, fire officers and paramedics.

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