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Spectacular take-off for air show...

STUNT pilots, fighter jets and parachute display teams took to the skies yesterday for the opening of the Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS).

His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, officially opened the three-day show at Sakhir Airbase.

He toured the site along with senior government officials, diplomats and event organisers before the action started.

Thousands of spectators looked on as a packed flying display programme unfolded with performances from the likes of the UAE's Al Fursan display team, the UK's Breitling Wingwalkers and the Saudi Hawks.

Organised by the Transportation Ministry in co-operation with the Royal Bahrain Air Force and UK firm Farnborough International, the show is expected to attract as many as 55,000 visitors this weekend.

"The unique, commercially-focused environment of BIAS has ensured that the third edition is set to be a success, with a significant number of returning and new participants," said Transportation Minister Kamal Ahmed.

"There is a high level of international and regional attendance, and the air show provides an opportunity to showcase Bahrain's unparalleled regional connectivity as a major logistics hub."

Around 60 aircraft are on static display at the show, including military jets from the US, UK, France, Turkey and Russia along with commercial planes from Airbus, Boeing, Gulfstream, Embraer and Cessna.

Another 50 aircraft will take to the skies over the course of the weekend as part of the daily four-hour flying displays.

Attractions in the public showground include 3D street art, a vertical wind tunnel skydiving experience, a space zone, heritage village and art and crafts workshops.

The commercial nature of the show has attracted delegations and representatives from Egypt, France, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, UK and US.

The number of participating companies has also doubled since the show's first edition in 2010 and there are more than 100 aircraft on display for the first time as well.

Day tickets to BIAS 2014 cost BD7 for adults and BD3 for children and are available from selected Batelco stores.

A public car park is located at Bahrain International Circuit, where complimentary shuttle buses will transport spectators to the show entrance.

The organisers said last night that public tickets for today have been sold out greg@gdn.com.bh



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