Big crowd expected for Warbirds 30th

Organisers of Warbirds Over Wanaka expect record crowd numbers for the airshow, which is having...
Organisers of Warbirds Over Wanaka expect record crowd numbers for the airshow, which is having its 30th anniversary. Pictured is a scene from the 2016 show. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Organisers of the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow over Easter are preparing for what is expected to be the biggest crowd in years.

Event manager Mandy Deans said tickets to the airshow, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, had sold steadily since sales opened last year.

``We always get strong early sales from aviation fans, especially Australians who want to book as far out as possible so they can organise the rest of their stay well in advance,'' she said.

``We hoped the 30th anniversary would resonate with lots of people and it seems that has definitely been the case with ticket sales consistently ahead of the same time before the 2016 event.''

The announcement the United States F-16 demonstration team would be coming to the airshow for the first time had also been a factor, she said.

To cope with the influx of attendees, organisers have tweaked their traffic management plan.

``We have reworked our traffic management plan and have some new innovations which we hope will minimise delays in getting everyone into the airshow, especially on the Saturday,'' Ms Deans said.

``The airshow gates open at 7.30am and all the ground displays and food outlets are operating from 8am, so we're encouraging people to leave earlier and maybe have breakfast at Warbirds and then have a look around all the displays before the non-stop aerial action starts at 10am.''

Cycle racks will also be provided at the show and organisers encouraged people to bike along the Luggate cycle trail to the airport in order to avoid traffic.

The airshow is being held on March 30 and 31, and April 1.

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