COVID fallout: Landmark Australian airshow postponed until 2023

August 10, 2021
A screenshoot from the cancelled Avalon 2021.

The roar of military jets will not be heard over Avalon Airport in Victoria this year after Australia’s landmark air show was cancelled because of the COVID pandemic.

AVALON 2021 had been delayed until the end of November but now will not be held until February-March 2023.

Avalon is billed as the most comprehensive aviation, aerospace and defence show in the southern hemisphere and a key platform for the Australian aerospace and defence industry.

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In a letter released Tuesday, AMDA Foundation chief executive Ian Honnery said the pandemic had already required the Avalon organising team to work through many challenges.

“However, recent developments as a consequence of the COVID-19 Delta strain have highlighted that the environment has become more unpredictable,’’ the letter said.

“Delivering such a highly complex, hallmark event in these challenging circumstances would involve risks of uncertainty for attendees, participants, industry and the Australian public.

“Therefore, in order to minimise uncertainty and disruption to attendees and participants, the difficult decision has been taken now that AVALON 2021 will not go ahead.”

Honnery said the decision was deeply disappointing for the team working for the AMDA Foundation, which organizes the event, as well as for stakeholders, exhibitors, participants and patrons.

But he said public health needed to be paramount.

“Staged with major participation from the Royal Australian Air Force and substantial support from the Victorian Government, it is one of the largest events of its kind internationally, attracting exhibitors, participants and visitors from around the world,’’ he said.

“While AVALON cannot proceed in 2021, AMDA Foundation is now embarking on planning and preparation for AVALON 2023 which will be held from February 28 to March 5, 2023.

“With the expected transition to post-COVID normalcy, AVALON 2023 will return to international prominence as one of the world’s great air shows. “

The organizers had planned to bring together the biggest range of Royal Australian Air Force assets ever assembled for the show to mark the RAAF’s Centenary, including historical and modern aircraft spanning the defence force’s 100-year history.