The Royal International Air Tattoo
Few events can rival the intensity, drama and spectacle on offer at the world’s greatest airshow; the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT). With over 300 aircraft participating each year, RIAT has been acknowledged as the world’s largest military airshow.
GL events UK has worked in partnership with the RAF Charitable Trust to supply a combination of temporary structures to RIAT for over 30 years. Each year the challenge is to provide high quality, engaging infrastructure that gives visitors an amazing experience and ensures their return, year-on-year.
A regular feature at the event is the impressive and exclusive main hospitality pavilion; a vast 9,470sqm structure with a 70m walkway that leads into a large
foyer with connected dining areas, reception areas, offices, kitchens and toilets. The whole structure is completed in just three weeks.
The hospitality complex also contains a select number of bespoke, private chalets for prestigious clients such as Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce and Saab. These chalets are hired out on an exclusive basis and all have private dining and hospitality areas that open out onto an astro-turf decking area and garden; providing clear sightlines of the runway and flying display.
The exclusive 1,680sqm Friends of RIAT (FRIAT) enclosure has elevated grandstand seating, dedicated catering, toilets and a merchandise outlet.
Recently the main showground included a 120sqm retail showroom for the iconic watch maker Breitling. The rear of the showrooom was fitted out with a private decked garden for entertaining customers.
GL events UK has supplied seating to the event since 2013 and in total over 5,000 seats are installed. Creating seating areas at an event like this presents several challenges to the organisers, as the enthusiastic plane spotters and photographers want unrivalled sightlines of the aircraft and flying displays, but the sightline requirements of air traffic control must also be considered when planning the correct locations.
The RIAT showground is on an operational RAF base, which presents many security challenges. In a place where aircraft worth well over £1 million are mixing with complicated builds, a real attention to detail is required. Procedures for Health and Safety, quality and general housekeeping must be beyond reproach as Foreign Object Damage is a real threat and something as simple as a tiny piece of scrap metal from packaging could cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft engine.
To address these issues the site team erected a perimeter fence to enclose and protect the structures and seating during the build phase. Security is extremely tight and a rigorous security system was put in place to thoroughly search all incoming trucks, vans and cars every time they enter the site.
These extra security checks have an effect on the overall project timings and it is the responsibility of GL events UK to ensure that all of its subcontractors are notified and following procedures.
2018 was the RAF’s centenary and RIAT 2018 was chosen as the international celebratory event.