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Red Arrows cancel display, as Air Malta shows new colours

The eagerly awaited Red Arrows were forced to cancel their appearance at the Malta International Airshow yesterday due to technical problems.

The famous Royal Air Force aerobatic team was still grounded in Sardinia last night as its aircraft underwent repairs.

Malta Aviation Society president Joe Ciliberti said six of the jets had problems with their oxygen systems which was making it difficult for the pilots to breathe.

According to Mr Ciliberti, one of the pilots and a mechanic were in hospital with respiratory problems yesterday.

The Red Arrows have confirmed they will be not be able to attend the airshow today either.

“We are deeply disappointed at not being able to take part in the Malta International Airshow; however, safety is always paramount,” the Red Arrows said on their website.

Mr Ciliberti said organisers were extremely saddened that the Red Arrows could not take part, “but the other displays more than made up for it”.

Helped by fine weather, Mr Cilberti said more people attended the show yesterday than last year’s Saturday show.

The highlight was an aerial display by a Spitfire, which will be performing again today. An RAF Hawk also gave a solo display yesterday.

Attendees got their first look at Air Malta’s new aircraft livery, when an Air Malta Airbus A320 in the new colours opened this year’s flying display with a flypass over runway 23/05.

The aircraft, operating flight KM 070, flew to Malta immediately after being repainted in the new livery. The flight number was chosen to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the award of the George Cross to Malta that is being commemorated this year.

Mr Cilberti said extra displays had been scheduled for today to make up for the absence of the Red Arrows.

The airshow also features RAF Typhoons and Tornados, a NATO AWACS, a Hercules and a Libyan Air Force Chinook helicopter. This is the first timepost-Gaddafi Libya is taking part in an airshow.

Gates are open today from 10am till 5.30pm. The aerial display starts at 1.30pm.

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