A Coleraine councillor has said that the air show in Portrush should be used as an ‘economic driver for the area’.
Speaking as Causeway Coast and Glens Council revealed plans to further develop the show, renamed ‘Airwaves last year, the UUP man said: “This is key tourist event for the area with over 200,000 spectators pouring into the area for the two day festival.
“As a signature event it has a tremendous impact on our tourism industry.
“What I’m most impressed with around the future strategy is the involvement of Invest NI and the use of the event to promote our Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industry.
“We’ve seen local companies, such as Kilrea based Hutchinson Engineering, successfully move into the aeronautical sector.
“Currently Causeway Coast residents take home on average, £400 per week. This is short of the NI average of £429 per week. Causeway Coast is losing out and we need to see an increase in the provision of jobs in the manufacturing sector. The lucrative manufacturing industry accounts for 27% of jobs in the Mid Ulster area, compared to under 10% in Causeway. We clearly have some catching up to do.
“Airwaves provides a great opportunity to drive research, learning, development and engineering as part of a broader economic driver. With Airwaves the sky really is the limit.”