FlightFest draws 130,000 for aviation celebration

Up to 130,000 people lined the quays of Dublin City as the world’s largest commercial aircraft roared overhead.

FlightFest draws 130,000 for aviation celebration

The British Airways A380 joined military, vintage and commercial carriers asalmost 30 planes flew as low as 800ft over the River Liffey for FlightFest.

Eamonn Brennan, chief executive of the Irish Aviation Authority, described the event as a tremendous success. “Aviation in Ireland is a major contributor to the economy through jobs, and the air finance and leasing community, so it was fantastic to be able to showcase Ireland’s deep involvement with aviation on the world stage,” he said.

“We have seen some of the world’s most impressive aircraft today, and I wouldlike to thank the people of Dublin and Ireland for their interest and enthusiasm in supporting FlightFest.”

As the sun broke through dark clouds, spectators got a break from the heavy showers and a glimpse of the first plane in the distance.

Aer Lingus, Aer Lingus Regional, Cityjet, Ryanair, British Airways, Etihad, Air Contractors, FlyBe and Transaero took part in the festival of flight, alongside the Irish Air Corps, Irish Coast Guard and Royal Air Force.

Aircraft representing almost every decade since 1930 took to the skies, including the Grace Spitfire ML407, Flying Fortress, C-130 Hercules, F-86A Sabre and Hawker Hunter.

But blustery conditions forced some, including de Havilland Chipmunks andIolar, to pull out. The Vulcan did not fly because of a technical problem.

Arthur Kerley, 54, from Dundalk, Co Louth, went to the event with 14 members of his extended family.

“It was a very enjoyable day out,” he said.

“There was great community spirit and we’re just enjoying all the different aircraft. It’s great excitement to see them so low.”

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisín Quinn, said the spectacular sight over the River Liffey and the centre of Dublin will be remembered for many years.

John Conway, 55, from Market Harborough in Leicestershire, won a competition from The Gathering for a three-day break to the capital for the event.

He revealed one of his best childhood memories was watching planes from Heathrow with his father, who had emigrated from Sligo.

The avid plane fan said the highlight of the day was seeing Air Corps Pilatus PC-9Ms in formation.

His wife Sarah added: “We are loving it. The trip has been fantastic.”

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

New episodes available each Tuesday during December

Available on

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence