CLACTON’S high-flying air show flew closer to breaking even this year after organisers cut the costs by £20,000.

About 250,000 flight fanatics descended upon the resort for the 26th annual Clacton Airshow in August, which was headlined by the RAF Red Arrows. The two-day event also included a dazzling night flight for the second year running.

Tendring Council said the overall income from the airshow was around £82,000, which came from the sale of trade stand space, £31,000 from selling programmes and bucket collections as well as £9,500 from sponsorship.

An economic impact study for this year’s event still has to be completed but previous reports show that it has brought about £5.5million into the Tendring economy.

Mick Skeels, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: “To put on one of the best events in Essex which brings more than £5million into the local economy and yet it almost wipes its face is truly amazing.

“Many other airshows have folded due to rising costs and the fact they have become financially unsustainable. However, we are proud to be going strong after 26 years and getting so close to breaking even.

“It is a tribute to all those who work so hard to put the show along with the backing of our partners.

“The entertainment was first class – including night flights for the second time – and we continue look to make improvements wherever we can.”

Airshow director Mike Carran said the biggest challenge faced this summer was managing visitor safety against a backdrop of world events.

He praised police for providing exceptional support while still maintaining the family friendly atmosphere.

“There was a significant presence of armed officers but with their help we managed to strike the balance between putting on a high quality event while providing the necessary reassurance to those attending,” he added.

Mr Carran said the “strong financial position” had been achieved despite increased costs for security and insurance.

He said: “We did not have to find the money for the Typhoon this year as it was not available on our dates, but we will certainly be bidding for it to return for 2018.

“Long-term purchases the previous year also helped and we will continue to strive to ensure the financial future of the airshow.”