Manston air show traffic problems criticised

Cars queuing to get to the South East Air Show Thousands of people were unable to get into Manston Airport and were only able to view the aircraft from their cars as they waited in traffic on surrounding roads

Organisers of the South East Air Show in Kent have been criticised after thousands of people trying to reach it were stuck in long queues of traffic.

It was the first time in 20 years that Manston Airport had hosted the event but many motorists said they had to turn round and return home on Saturday.

Nine-mile tailbacks on Thanet Way meant journeys took more than four hours.

Organiser Chris Yates said the air show was more popular than expected and the road infrastructure could not cope.

'Shambolic event'

"An awful lot of people [were] trying to come down some very small roads that come into Manston Airport - a classic dual carriageway two-into-one scenario," he added.

John Turp, who took four hours to travel from the Monkton roundabout to the airport - a distance of two miles - said it had to be "one of the most shambolic events ever staged".

He said: "The day was ruined for tens of thousands of people by the inept organisation."

Vulcan bomber in flight The Vulcan bomber was one of the highlights of the South East Air Show at Manston Airport

Others trying to get to the air show vented their anger on social media websites.

Paul Blair said he left Maidstone at 09:40 BST and did not arrive at the airport until 16:20.

"The stewards organising the event parking didn't have a clue and were turning people around and sending them back the other way," he said.

"A complete waste of time and money and I had one very disappointed and upset little boy who missed it all."

'Lessons learned'

The event featured a display of aircraft, old and new, from the last Vulcan bomber still flying to the Apache helicopter.

Mr Yates said initial news that it would be one of the last flights of the Vulcan had attracted a lot of people to the show, but this was not now the case as it had since been announced that it would be around for two more years.

He added that lessons would be learned from the issues and there would be "plenty to debrief on".

"We'll learn about the car parks and we'll learn about the timings of peoples' arrival and bigger car parks," he said.

In a statement on Sunday, Heritage Events apologised to people who experienced long delays and were unable to attend the event.

"We would ask for people to email their views and their personal experiences to enquiry@heritage-events.co.uk so we can respond appropriately to each person individually."

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