Photography by Full Throttle Photography
24 August 2023
The inaugural Pacific Airshow Gold Coast, 18 to 20 August 2023, has set new standards for success, exceeding all expectations and leaving a lasting mark on the region’s event landscape. The event attracted an overwhelming turnout, vibrant community support and resulted in a significant boost to the local economy.
“We always expected that the event was going to be really successful,” said Kevin Elliott, CEO of Code Four and Pacific Airshow Director. “Everyone we spoke to, every stakeholder we discussed this with during the planning process, said that they thought that Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast was the perfect location for this event. And, you know, it turns out they were right.”
It’s estimated that more than 200,000 people watched the event — from the bustling event precinct to nearby beaches and balconies spanning The Spit to Burleigh.
“We sold everything that we had available to sell, which is fantastic for a first-year event. With these events you estimate how much catering and infrastructure you’re going to need and we sold to the maximum capacity that we were planning for,” Elliott stated.
Discussing potential improvements for the future, Elliott mentioned plans to expand the event’s footprint and enhance hospitality offerings. “We’ll look to add maybe a few more gates and add some more hospitality options. Coupled with additional programmatic improvements, we’ll continue to level up the event from this 1.0 version to the next year.”
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate agreed the airshow had exceeded all expectations. “The city was absolutely buzzing,” he said.
“The beach, balconies and parks were crowded with people up and down the coast watching the spectacular show. It’s ‘plane’ to see people loved it and we can’t wait to bring it back in 2024.”
Major Events Gold Coast CEO Jan McCormick highlighted the positive impact on the local economy. “The Pacific Airshow Gold Coast generated huge interest, with out-of-region visitors making up a big proportion of total ticket sales,” she said.
“Those visitors stay in the city for an extended amount of time, spending money on accommodation, and in our restaurants, bars, and retail outlets. What we’re really proud of is the way this event has been embraced by the entire Gold Coast community, and the economic benefits will have been felt right across the city.”
McCormick also addressed the success from a business perspective. “I heard from a local brewing company and bar that they had a 100 percent increase in revenue from last weekend. Businesses are making a lot of money out of this. The event’s growth will only benefit every business, and we look forward to working with Code Four to continue this trend.”
With Pacific Airshow Gold Coast’s successful debut, plans are already in motion for the next edition. “Our team is talking to all of our stakeholders, and obviously everybody wants to come to the Gold Coast. So, we just need the stars to align, and we need weather like this, and I’m sure we can make it bigger and better next year for our ticket holders, performers and our partners,” Elliott remarked.
The statistics accompanying Pacific Airshow Gold Coast are as impressive as the planes that graced the skies. With flight hours surpassing four hours per day, the event showcased a range of aerial manoeuvres that pushed the boundaries of speed and altitude.
From sea level to heights of 15,000 feet and thrilling near-supersonic speeds, the show was a testament to the extraordinary skill of the pilots leaving attendees awestruck.
Behind the scenes, the Pacific Airshow was a collaborative effort involving 116 dedicated volunteers across the event precinct and key airports, including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Southport and RAAF Base Amberley. The hospitality team, working tirelessly over three days, catered to the needs of 4,500 guests, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all attendees.
The diversity of the audience was mirrored in the event’s attendees. The farthest-travelled guest hailed from British Columbia, a testament to the airshow’s international appeal. The age spectrum ranged from a four-month-old infant, who became the youngest guest to witness the spectacle, to a 99-year-old World War II veteran.
“The success of the Pacific Airshow Gold Coast truly exceeded expectations this year. The addition of the unique Yacht Box experience added an unparalleled level of luxury and excitement to the event. It’s sure to be an extremely popular choice at next year’s event,” said Pacific Airshow Director Kevin Elliott.
The Superyacht People partnered with Pacific Airshow Gold Coast to create the Yacht Box on-water experience. This exclusive ticketed zone provided yachts of all sizes, private and charter, a front-row seat to all the action.
Cam Bray from The Superyacht People said the turnout was phenomenal. “Witnessing over 500 vessels gathered throughout the three-day spectacle showcases the undeniable allure of this exclusive offering,” he stated.
“The Gold Coast has provided such a wonderful backdrop – the beautiful beach, the flotilla that was out there. I heard that it’s the largest marine movement that they’ve ever had out of Southport Yacht Club. So that now is compatible with what happens in California, because it’s the largest marine movement over there.
“It’s clear that the Yacht Box has redefined the way attendees can enjoy the airshow, combining breathtaking aerial displays with a lavish maritime experience. More information regarding Yacht Box packages will be shared with yacht owners prior to Pacific Airshow Gold Coast 2024.
“Next year, we are working on mooring blocks for larger superyachts and a dedicated corporate anchor zone for yachts to raft up, as well as sponsors,” continued Bray. “Then we would match that with a corporate suite on the beach to create a fully immersive experience.”
As part of the Maritimo Muster, 10 Maritimo motor yachts and their owners and guests headed out on the Saturday to Surfers to watch the airshow. According to Simon Stewart, Marketing Manager at Maritimo, it was a memorable experience for all involved.
“It was great, they all loved it! We don’t get many airshows of that calibre in Australia, so it was something quite different.
“On Saturday night, we all berthed at Sanctuary Cove and went out for dinner at Ioesco. Then on the Sunday, the Maritimo fleet went out again to watch the Airshow.”
Horizon Yacht Australia took advantage of the three-day event to host owners and guests at three separate occasions. As Erica Rae explained, “On the Friday night, we hosted a Top Gun-themed party at La Luna, Marina Mirage, then on Saturday we invited owners to a Cabana on the beach to watch the Airshow.
“On Sunday, we took out the Horizon RP 100 Superyacht with 30 guests and enjoyed the Airshow from the on-water vantage point. It was so amazing to have the backdrop of Surfers Paradise and watch it all from a totally different perspective. We will definitely be involved again next year.”