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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020

Biggest Irish airshow since 1936 to take place next month

FlightFest will see a selection of aircraft, from flying boats to massive cargo planes, fly over the River Liffey next month.

A RAF Vulcan bomber jet will take part in the flyover
A RAF Vulcan bomber jet will take part in the flyover

YOU MIGHT BE used to seeing a small twin-seat plane or helicopter flying low overhead — but it will hard to miss some of the massive aircraft which will be flying down the banks of the River Liffey next month.

FlightFest, an event organised by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), Dublin City Council, and The Gathering, takes place on September 15th and will see over two dozen aircraft flying low over the city centre.

Some of the larger aircraft involved include a Royal Air Force C-130 four-engine military transport aircraft, a Delta winged Vulcan XH558 Cold War-era bomber jet, and even the iconic Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Passenger jets from airlines such as British Airways, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, CityJet, and Etihad will take part, as well as a selection of helicopters and private planes.

Speaking to, Director of Operations with the IAA Peter Kearney said that the aim of the festival is to highlight the contribution air travel has made to the Irish economy at a time where it could be becoming “romantic” again.

People’s impressions of aviation has become romantic again. They’re fascinated by new large planes which are coming on-stream which have made a significant difference to air travel. It’s a very unique event as well, this doesn’t really happen that often in Europe.

He highlighted one of the biggest planes to take part, a British Airways Airbus A380, which weighs 800 tonnes, requires 320,000 litres of fuel, and has a wingspan almost twice the length of O’Connell Street bridge. The A380 hasn’t arrived in Dublin airport before, but crosswind testing for the aircraft was carried out at Shannon Airport.


A British Airways Airbus A380 (Image Credit:

Along with Kearney’s own IAA, planning for the family-orientated event has involved Dublin Port Company, the Irish Military, and Dublin City Council who handled ground planning for the event — all of which he said worked very well together in the complicated planning process.

The last flypast of its kind in Ireland took place in 1936, where a makeshift runway was constructed in the Phoenix Park and some reports say the crowd that gathered to watch the show was so large that the military had to be called in to help clear the crowd.

People will be familiar with similar airshows taking place for various royal events in Britain, most recently earlier this year in June for Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. However, Kearney said that those events will be nothing compared to FlightFest, which will be on a much larger scale.

Have a look at just some of the aircraft taking part below, you can view more on

Biggest Irish airshow since 1936 to take place next month
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  • Air Corps Cessna

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  • Etihad Airbus A340

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  • B-17 Flying Fortress (Sally-B)

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  • Catalina PBY-5A Flying Boat

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  • RAF C-130

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  • CHC Sikorsky S-61

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  • Vulcan XH558, The Spirit of Great Britain

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  • British Airways Airbus A380

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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