Teesside Airshow Traffic Management Investigation Report


This report has been prepared by Phil Forster, Managing Director of Teesside International Airport (TIA) following major traffic issues experienced by people attempting to get to the Teesside Airshow on Saturday 11th June 2022.   The report outlines the process of planning for the airshow, the problems experienced on the day, the key findings about the reasons, and the lessons learned for any similar TIA events.


The SkyLive Air Teesside Airshow was initially due to be held in June 2020 at Teesside International Airport. The event was postponed due to coronavirus restrictions imposed in March 2020.

TIA entered into a licence agreement with SkyLive Air Limited for the Airshow.  The Licence Agreement provided that SkyLive Air was responsible for the staging and management of the airshow on the airport’s site. That agreement included an Event Management Plan (EMP) prepared by/for SkyLive Air, to set out the details of how the aviation and non-aviation aspects of the day would be managed, and this incorporated a Traffic Management Plan (TMP), which set out how the traffic would be managed to make sure people could get into the site, park safely and then leave the site at the end of the event.

The EMP also had to take into account the fact that a number of commercial passenger flights would be leaving the airport during the day, so passengers would be coming to the airport to fly and not to watch the airshow, and inbound passengers would need to be able to leave the airport as planned.

Preparation for the Airshow

SkyLive Air had previously delivered two airshows at the airport, one in 2016 and one in 2017, both of which attracted thousands of people.

Following the Covid 19 pandemic, with people wanting to attend big events again, and with the 2022 airshow being the only planned event of its kind for 120 miles, around 20,000 to 25,000 people were expected to attend, with the airport having capacity for 7,500 vehicles.

On 28th February 2022, SkyLive Air appointed Hatton Traffic Management Ltd as their traffic management contractor for the event. Hatton is an experienced traffic management consultancy – for instance they have advised on traffic management at events such as the Great North Run, as well as previous Teesside airshows.

A meeting was subsequently held on 9th March 2022 with a range of stakeholders and partners, who formally constituted a Public Event Safety Advisory Group (PESAG). This was made up of representatives from:-

The EMP and TMP and other documents were submitted to PESAG for its meeting on 9th March and reflected those submitted for 2016’s event.

Situation at the Event

On Saturday, 11 June the Teesside Airshow opened its gates to traffic at 8am, ahead of the show beginning at 12 noon. Media posts ahead of the event had suggested that event attendees should travel early to avoid being held up in accessing the event site. As ticketholders in cars attempted to enter the event, from relatively early in the morning they and other road users experienced major traffic issues on nearby routes, including the A67. At one point, Durham Police closed the A67 to allow traffic to flow from the A66 Long Newton Road, which would have caused significant delays on the A67. As a result of this traffic congestion, a number of people were unable to attend the airshow and small number of passengers missed their flights out of Teesside Airport.

Scope of this Investigation

As part of this investigation: –

It is not within the scope of this report to address any issues relating to refunds from the event organiser – I am however aware that SkyLive Air has publicly confirmed that anyone who could not attend because of the transport issues will be able to apply to SkyLive for a refund of their ticket price in due course.

Key Findings


Organisation and Management

Ownership and Leadership

Conclusion and Lessons Learned 

Overall, as set out above it is clear that there were a number of shortcomings in the planning for and management of the traffic aspects of the event, which contributed to the issues on the day. It was incredibly disappointing that the airshow, which was a good event that attracted excellent flight displays and entertained those that were able to attend, was overshadowed by these serious traffic issues.

The main lessons learned for any future TIA regional impact events are set out below.

(a) As set out above there are lessons to be learned about the constitution, attendance, and management of this PESAG which will be relevant for similar groups put together to review event management planning (and specifically traffic management) at future regional events. Specifically, we would highlight: –

    • Making sure that the PESAG is attended by suitably senior staff;
    • Having a series of group meetings, to ensure that any issues that arise are assessed and come back to the group to be reviewed;
    • Ensuring that there are clear action lists and responsibilities, which are allocated, followed up, reported back and re-assessed;
    • Ensuring that the Police are involved in event planning, with thought being given early to whether other neighbouring police force(s) should also be included, because of the potential wider traffic impacts;

(b) TIA is very unlikely to host another airshow on its site in the future, without significant reassurance and comfort from key public sector stakeholders and any future event manager that all issues raised within this report would be addressed. TIA’s plans to increase passenger numbers and make the airport more sustainable in the long term are key to its future. We cannot host any further events outside our core activities which could negatively impact on our service to our customers.   Increased flights and passenger numbers will lead to more vehicles coming to and from the airport (although not in such concentrations as those attending the airshow), and we will continue to work with all relevant parties, informed in part by the lessons learnt here, to ensure that disruption of this kind does not happen again at the airport.

Phil Forster
Managing Director
Teesside International Airport Limited
Dated 27th June 2022


Appendix 1 – Minutes of the PESAG Meeting (https://www.teessideinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Appendix-1-%E2%80%93-Minutes-of-the-PESAG-Meeting.pdf)

Appendix 2a – Airshow Event Management and Safety Plan (EMP) (https://www.teessideinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Appendix-2a-%E2%80%93-Airshow-Event-Management-and-Safety-Plan-EMP.pdf)

Appendix 2b – Notes to accompany Teesside Airshow EMP 3rd draft (https://www.teessideinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Appendix-2b-%E2%80%93-Notes-to-accompany-Teesside-Airshow-EMP-3rd-draft-.pdf)

Appendix 3 – Site Plan (https://www.teessideinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Appendix-3-Site-Plan.jpeg)

Appendix 4 – Traffic Management Plan (https://www.teessideinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Appendix-4-%E2%80%93-Traffic-Management-Plan.pdf)