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Saudi air show draws more than 21,000 spectators in two days

People enjoy the Saudi Aviation Show which concluded at the Thumamah Airport in Riyadh on Saturday. (AN photos)
People enjoy the Saudi Aviation Show which concluded at the Thumamah Airport in Riyadh on Saturday. (AN photos)
RIYADH: More than 21,000 visitors turned up at the Saudi Aviation Show, which concluded at the Thumamah Airport in Riyadh on Saturday.
The show, which was inaugurated by Prince Faisal bin Bandar, was sponsored by the Saudi Aviation Club (SAC) in association with the General Authority for Civil Aviation and several other bodies.
The show, which was held for the fourth year in succession, was an initiative of the SAC to celebrate air sports and contribute to the spreading of aviation culture.
In a statement to the press, SAC Manager Ayid Al-Qasmi said there was an unprecedented crowd, which was much bigger than expected.
More than 60 aircraft and aerobatic teams from Saudi Arabia and the UAE took part in air and ground shows including skydiving and paragliding on Friday and Saturday.
The air show was coupled with an exhibition in which modern aircraft were on display and visitors were given photo opportunities with the pilots and the aircraft.
The Saudi Hawks national aerobatic team and “Al Fursan” (The Knights) from the UAE Air Force aerobatic display team presented their performances with an array of colorful aerobatics that captivated the spectators, who watched in spellbound silence.
The Saudi Hawks, who had made their first appearance some 20 years ago, have taken part in several international air shows in Bahrain, Pakistan and the UAE, the UK, Italy, Austria, Belgium, and Greece. The team are currently led by Lt. Col. Musa bin Yahya Al-Fifi.
The UAE’s Al Fursan team performed for the first time in 2011 at the Dubai Air Show.
Fazliha Cader, a schoolteacher who witnessed the event, told Arab News that her family thoroughly enjoyed watching the aerobatics by the Saudi and UAE pilots.
“It was wonderful to have watched these displays live in the Kingdom,” she said, adding several families went to the exhibition site in a motorcade and enjoyed the 80-kilometer drive to the venue.
Manel Gamage, who teaches at a multinational school in the capital, said: “It was a wonderful opportunity to see the air power of the Kingdom and the skills of the Saudi pilots.
“They performed very well, it was a treat for men, women and children.”

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