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FAI withdraws World Air Games from Turkey, assesses event’s future

The International Air Sports Federation (FAI) will undertake a strategic review of its World Air Games after deciding to cancel the 2022 edition of the multi-discipline event, which had been due to take place in Turkey.

The Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK), which had been awarded hosting rights to the event, had asked the FAI to postpone the Games until 2025, due to the current difficult economic situation in Turkey.

The FAI had initially announced that Turkey would host the fifth edition of the World Air Games back in February 2018. The event had been scheduled for September 2020, with the Games to be split between Ankara, Antalya, Eskisehir, Efes/Selcuk, Ölüdeniz/Fethiye and Pammukale/Honaz.

However, in December 2018 the FAI and THK announced that the Games would be moved from 2020 to September 2022, stating they were committed to “supercharging” the World Air Games to provide an “exciting, engaging, professional and safe global event”.

The FAI announced yesterday (Monday) that following the THK’s latest request it took the decision to cancel the 2022 Games rather than postpone them again. The FAI further announced that the federation will undertake an overall review of the World Air Games concept and format before deciding on any future edition of the Games.

FAI president Bob Henderson said: “This has not been an easy decision to make. However, it has been taken with all interests at heart and with a long-term and strategic view.

“The FAI World Air Games is the flagship event of the federation and, as such, we must make sure that it be held in optimal conditions. The FAI will take this opportunity to discuss internally the future of the Games taking all FAI stakeholders’ best interests in consideration.”

The FAI added that information about future World Air Games events will be communicated in due course. Turkey was due to stage the fifth edition of the event after also hosting the inaugural Games in 1997.

The most recent edition of the Games took place in Dubai in 2015. Prior to that the event was hosted by Italy (2009), Spain (2001) and Turkey.