It’s better to admit defeat now and plan for 2013

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Of course it’s sad to report today that Portsmouth’s first-ever air festival, due to be held next month, has been cancelled.

It was going to be great for the city, pulling in a predicted 250,000 visitors who would have seen the world-famous RAF Red Arrows, the Breitling Wingwalkers, Second World War Spitfires and an old Royal Navy Sea Vixen fighter.

But a combination of lack of finance, logistical difficulties and the prospect of bad weather meant that organisers had no choice but to pull the plug now.

It’s not the first big event to be hit by problems in the present climate (both economically and meteorologically speaking) and it won’t be the last.

These are difficult times and the risks associated with putting on big shows that involve complex organisation and huge financial commitment can be great.

We understand why organisers of the air show have made their decision not to go ahead. A judgment had to be made at some stage and it is far better to do it now rather than carry on hoping unrealistically that things will turn out all right in the end.

Yes, it’s a tough call to have to admit defeat, particularly after the event was originally launched with so much optimism and confidence. But it’s the right call.

Look at what organisers have had to contend with. Problems range from rising insurance bills and the reluctance of businesses to stump up sponsorship cash in such an event-filled year to a clash with Pompey’s home game against Bournemouth that would put pressure on the city’s infrastructure.

Then there was the decreasing amount of available apron space for jet aircraft and the danger of the whole event being hit by rain that would affect visitor numbers and also any park and ride provision.

Now those involved in the air show can take stock – and put all their efforts into ensuring that we get a bigger and better air festival in 2013.

Because we share their hope that the event has merely been postponed until next August and that the sun will shine on another fantastic event to put Portsmouth on the map.