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Friday 19 September 2014

130,000 turn out for FlightFest

Published 15/09/2013 | 18:31

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The British Airways A380 joined military, vintage and commercial carriers for FlightFest in Dublin

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

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

Eamonn Brennan, chief executive of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), said the event was 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 would like to thank the people of Dublin and Ireland for their interest and enthusiasm in supporting FlightFest today."

As the sun broke through the dark clouds above, 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 and Iolar, 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, Oisin 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 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 Air Corps Pilatus PC-9M's in formation.

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

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