Airport won't confirm airshow

Organisers of Wings and Wheels Over Waikato were due in court again today with yet more problems on the radar for the troubled air show.

It is understood that the rescheduled dates for the stalled air show have yet to be confirmed with Hamilton International Airport despite these dates February 13-15 next year being publicly advertised by organisers. And it is also understood that the airport is seeking legal advice.

The dates have been widely advertised in media releases, on the air show's website, and most recently on roadside billboards.

Yesterday, airport chief executive Chris Doak said the future of the air show hinged on the results of a Commerce Commission investigation but he was reluctant to say too much given the court case.

"The airport has previously advised the organisers of the postponed event that all matters pertaining to future air shows are currently under review, pending the outcomes of the independent investigation currently being conducted by the Commerce Commission," Mr Doak said.

The air and car show was due to be held in March this year but was postponed in February after coming up against resource consent and organisational problems.

Air show organiser Ken Ross, who signed a 10-year deal with Hamilton Airport, has tried to reassure ticketholders, sponsors and exhibitors that their money is safe, and said the show would be held on February 13-15.

When asked about the unconfirmed dates yesterday, Mr Ross said his company had a "written 10-year contractual agreement with the airport company, which we will be exercising accordingly".

He said he was unaware of any legal advice being sought on the matter.

Mr Ross is due back in the High Court at Auckland today as the Commerce Commission looks to protect funds paid to Mr Ross by ticketholders, sponsors and exhibitors a sum believed to be in the millions of dollars.

In March, the commission obtained a court order to freeze the assets and prevent Mr Ross and three associated companies from touching them as the commission tried to figure out how much money was wrapped up in the venture. It also alleged that money was withdrawn from bank accounts despite the court ordering the freeze and accused Mr Ross of contempt of court.

Mr Ross has denied these allegations, and is also fighting the suspension imposed on the air show funds

Earlier this month, air show organisers again upset the Commerce Commission after emailing ticket holders begging for support to get the show going again.

The commission said claims in the email were incorrect, especially in saying that the investigation was nearly completed, and it was not certain that all ticket money had been accounted for as claimed.


Waikato Times