Suits do deals at airshows regardless of whether the Red Barrows pitch up. It's a gimmick but laser clay pigeon shooting is just as attractive - I've seen it work at a defence show in Singapore. We had the Arrows and STC had the clay. Frankly I left our stand and went and had a go on the Sings' toy!
I deployed to the Gulf and Indian Ocean in '06 with the HMS Illustrious task group, we basically spent the whole trip doing demonstrations and manoeuvres for foreign 'guests.' The Red Arrows had magically found funding to come all the way there and join us for a week, taking part in the displays.
Funny old thing, BAe were trying to sell hawks to India and Oman at the time.
Still, it was a good trip and I got to lock up the Red Arrows with phalanx.
I knew someone in the Arrows who was due to go to a far flung place on tour
Due to one thing and another the tour loked doubtful and word came from on high the Arrows will be going regardless of costs, aircraft etc
I assume the state of the aircraft will determined when a submarine gives it a once over
There is also the revenue that their displays brings in! The cost of hiring them for even a fly past is astronomical and I'm sure it outways the flying costs.
Funnily I can remember the last time they crashed. I was 4 and sat in the back garden when they collided. I told my mum who gave me a slap for lying, 10 seconds later one of the planes crashed in the village!!! She believed me then but didn't apologise for the slap!
Hope all concerned are safe. They are fantastic ambassadors and the costs are worth it when you take in to account the good will they raise and the standards of flying gained by the team.
As a side note it may be just as well it happened where it did. If it had happened at their favoured training ground of Akrotiri, the the locals would have had a field day with the world press and their new found friends at Brussels.