Mon, Aug 2, 2021 11:18 PM

Bubble bursts but air show hopes high

Matt Brown

A lack of Australian tourists hasn’t dampened air show organisers’ spirits.

The travel bubble with Australia burst when the delta Covid variant started to spiral out of control, prompting a Sydney-wide lockdown that spread to other Australian centres.

But Yealands Classic Fighters chairman Graham Orphan says while it is a shame that Aussie visitors will miss out, they had planned for it.

“The bursting of the bubble is a great shame but we'd set about running the Easter show with no Australian visitors and this will be no different, so we are geared for it.

“This country has come to depend on its own people travelling, enjoying and supporting home grown products and attractions just as we have seen elsewhere in Marlborough during the Covid era,” he says.

Graham says they are confident the show will go on – provided the Delta variant doesn’t get loose in the country.

“This has been happening for long enough now for us to feel a level of confidence as long as there is not a Feb 27th style lock-down should a Delta-variant break-out occur in NZ in the next few weeks.”

He says the only aircraft attendance affected by the bubble bursting is the Royal Australian Air Force’s F18 Hornets, which were an impressive sight at the last Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow.

“However, we enjoy a fantastic rapport with the team over there and they are itching to get back to Omaka whenever they can so we can expect to see them here in 2023.

“Something that gives us great heart is the fact that over the past 25 years, the Marlborough community has worked together to grow the number of heritage artefacts that we can call upon to entertain our visitors.

“This puts us in a good position to be able to present a comprehensive range of machines to the public, not just aircraft but also vintage and classic motor vehicles, including historic machines from both world wars,” Graham says.

“We also have the wonderful and very historic Omaka Airfield itself, and the fantastic Marlborough Aero Club community who provide such careful stewardship of this great asset.

“So, we're feeling pretty upbeat about the event and looking forward to welcoming everyone for a fun weekend of entertainment both aerial and on the ground.”

The Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow is on 3-5 September, coinciding with Father’s Day.

Purchase tickets at and check out this month’s Marlborough Magazine to win a free family pass.