The Red Arrows might only perform their daredevil stunts at Whitby Regatta every two or three years in future, the Gazette can reveal.
Rough economic times means the regatta committee has decided to divert the £11,000 cost of the on the display to improve other aspects of the community event.
Following last year’s regatta, vice-president Ivor Greer warned the Red Arrows may not return unless residents dug deep in their pockets to invest in the festival. Each year it costs around £46,000 to host and is entirely free to the public, relying instead on public donations for funding.
During the 2012 festivities street collections raised nearly £2,900, almost double the amount collected the previous year.
However, Mr Greer remained confident that the famous display team will once again grace the skies above Whitby.
Funding dictates the regatta may only be able to invite the Red Arrows along overy two or three years, but Mr Greer added he is sure there are enough other attractions to keep everyone entertained.
“I think there might be a downturn in visitor numbers because of it,” he said.
“They obviously can’t replace the Red Arrows, but the committee is working very hard to enable an interesting and viable community even.
“Being the oldest sea regatta on the north east coast and a free event for everyone, we have a lot to live up to.”
At a public meeting held on 27 February, the regatta committee presented the details of the company’s accounts for this year and issued a statement.
It explained that the 2012 event made an operating loss of £151, a marked improvement on the £9,993 loss in 2011.
However, to ensure this figure improves further, the committee requires further sponsorship from businesses and other sources.
Income generated last year was £47,101 and the cost of running the event was £47,952. The deficit of £851 was further reduced due to a refund of £700 secured from bank administration charges.
Prior to a decision being made on whether funding would be set aside for the Red Arrows display, the committee submitted a bid for the display team.
However, even if the RAF events team chooses Whitby as one of the 80 display venues it will visit this year, from almost 400 applications, the Regatta team will turn them down.
With so many applications, competition for the Red Arrows is fierce and even if the committee decided it was in a position to bid again for future events, there is no guarantee their bid would be successful.
For those seeking their fill of military action, other displays are set to take place throughout the weekend.
The RAF Search and Rescue team may be returning to the Regatta for the last time. Last week it was announced the Sea King helicopters are soon to be retired, so this may be their last Regatta visit.
The Regatta committee has also submitted a bid for the Royal Navy display team, known as the Black Cats. The Navy equivalent of the Red Arrows, this four-man display team uses Lynx helicopters