September 25, 2017 10:45 am

Attendance at Airshow London soars to new heights

An RCAF F-18 fighter jet decked out in Canada 150 fashion at the London Airshow, September 2017

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Airshow London is flying high after bringing more than 33,000 people to the grounds around London International Airport over the weekend.

While uncomfortably hot temperatures may have plagued southern Ontario, people still managed to come out in swarms in support of the country’s largest airshow.

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“It was an amazing weekend. It was hot, but the crowds were fantastic. The shows Friday night, Saturday and Sunday were definitely of an international calibre. The crews from all over North America, in fact, the world, with the Australian crew, had a fantastic time in London,” said Jim Graham, chair of the board for Airshow London. “It was inspiring to see all those people, after all the hard work we put in leading up to it, coming out to see those jets.”

READ MORE: Airshow London cleared for take-off

Over 350 crews and more than 75 aircraft ranging from fighter jets to tankers took to the sky.

Graham says it was great to see both young and old enjoying the show.

“You’ve got the grandfathers who were there to look at some of the planes they’ve known all their lives, and the young families that were with them, playing in the play areas, talking to the crews, getting up into the planes, walking through the planes, and then all staring at the sky with their jaws on the ground when the air display started,” he said.

With the humidity making temperatures feel like the mid 30s, Graham says their volunteers were a huge help.

“The weather was unexpected. This is September and it was 32 degrees Saturday and Sunday. We appreciated our volunteers’ patience. We had a huge volunteer team, well over 500 people, and in that kind of heat, they worked really hard to make sure everything was safe.”

READ MORE: Friends, fun, and flying: Airshow London is back for another year

Before returning last year Airshow London was on a 12-year hiatus. The 2016 show brought in about 20,000 people, but Saturday’s festivities had to be cancelled after officials were told thunder and lightning were detected at high altitudes.

As for next year, Graham says it’s already in the works.

“The entire London community really stepped up to make this show something that has a huge foundation to go forward. We’re already planning for the 2018 cycle. All I can say is keep checking out our website. We’ll be starting to release information in the next month or so. We’re expecting next year’s show to be even bigger, even louder, and even faster,” said Graham.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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