6 September 2009: Malaga's first international air show

Crowds flocked to the Malagueta to watch the show.
Crowds flocked to the Malagueta to watch the show. / S. SALAS
  • The Festival Aéreo Internacional Ciudad de Málaga took place over La Malagueta beach with thousands watching the spectacle

On Sunday 6 September 2009 Malaga city hosted its first international air festival, with some 200,000 people flocking to its beaches to watch the displays.

Forty planes and 90 pilots participated in the event which lasted five hours and took place in the skies between Malaga's lighthouse (several years before Muelle Uno was constructed) and Los Baños del Carmen to the east of the city.

The Eurofighter, along with the Patrulla Águila, the Dutch Royal air force's F-16, Patrulla Aspa's helicopters and Italy's Pioneer Team all impressed spectators with daring stunts in the skies above the city.

The Canadair amphibious aircraft, which is purpose built for aerial firefighting, collected water from the sea before releasing it near enough to the beach for some to get splashed from the spray.

Fifteen-time Spanish aerial acrobatics champion Ramón Alonso wowed the crowds with his loops and spins, and well-known adventurer Álvaro Bultó, joined by two other parachutists, jumped from a plane to great applause. He landed just metres away from 96-year-old María Toledo, who had come from Rincón de la Victoria to watch the event. "I thought he was going to land on top of me," she told a SUR journalist at the time.

Through the loudspeakers the crowds were given explanations about the different aircraft involved. They learned, for example, that former Malaga footballer, Salva Ballesta, who was the air show's technical coordinator, was at the controls of one of the three Yak-52s in the air.

Plane aficionado and Malaga resident, Augusto Tudela, took a telescope with him so that he and his family could get close-up views of the planes. "I could even see the face of one of the pilots," he said.

SUR reported that the day was "hot and muggy" and many people watched the show from the sea, which was the "only cool place to be".

Mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, told SUR that he had read that such events "took place in Malaga in the 1930s" and that he was "very happy that they had been revived, because the city deserved it".

Since then, the city, as well as towns along the Costa del Sol, have continued to hold international air shows featuring many of the planes which participated in the one in September 2009.