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Pacific Airshow Gold Coast wraps with 100,000 attendees

written by Adam Thorn | August 21, 2023

The inaugural Pacific Airshow Gold Coast has wrapped after three days on Surfers Paradise.

Organisers believe the event attracted just under 100,000 paying attendees, but the overall number watching on from balconies or further up the beach could swell numbers to up to 300,000, according to one estimate.

The schedule included flypasts from RAAF C-130 Hercules and Boeing C-17 Globemaster aircraft, as well as displays from the RAAF, US Marine Corps and US Air Force.

In addition, Westpac Helicopter conducted a lifesaving rescue helicopter demonstration, Gold Coast Skydive performed a formation skydive, and Fw190 Downunder and the Precision Fighters showed off a Focke Wulf 190, P-51D Mustang, and a P-40 Kittyhawk, among other displays.


The Pacific Airshow Gold Coast has been created by the team behind the Pacific Airshow at Huntington Beach, California, which attracts three million visitors.

Organisers hope that the event, which features air power assets from both the RAAF and the US Air Force, will deepen the bonds between the two partner nations while stimulating interest among attendees to consider a career in the Australian Defence Force.

Kevin Elliott, Code Four’s CEO, said last year he believed it would generate a similar economic benefit as its US equivalent — estimated at US$68 million in direct spending.

“We are bringing this event to Australia at the ideal time to support the ADF’s current recruiting efforts,” said Elliott.

“Furthermore, a successful inaugural Pacific Airshow will only strengthen the attraction to like-minded partner forces from the region and around the world.

“Our team has committed to making Pacific Airshow the largest annual event on the Gold Coast, providing a highly visible platform for demonstrating the strength of alliances, partnerships, and hosting foreign dignitaries.”

Launched in 2016, the original Pacific Airshow in California in 2021 included aerial displays by the US Navy Blue Angels, US Air Force Thunderbirds, Royal Air Force Red Arrows, and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

Major Events Gold Coast CEO Jan McCormick said previously the event would be a “game changer” for the city.

“I’ve no doubt that now the 2023 dates are announced, the media and marketing exposure across Australia is sure to result in strong accommodation bookings giving our tourism sector a welcome boost through the traditionally quieter August period. Importantly, hosting this spectacular airshow well and truly cements our city’s reputation as a world-class events destination,” said McCormick.

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