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Air Tattoo announces new CEO will touch down in September

Published: 05 Jul 2019   updated: 28 Oct 2019

Paul Atherton OBE will take over from Andy Armstrong as Chief Executive of the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises (RAFCTE), which organises the world famous Royal International Air Tattoo.  Money raised by RAFCTE's commercial activities are donated annually to the company's parent charity, the RAF Charitable Trust.

Andy Armstrong has had an extremely successful tenure of 6 years in which he has overseen a significant increase in the trading surplus of the company and growth in its reputation worldwide.  He has been a prolific leader of the company.  However having lived away from home for 6 years, Andy now plans to seek new challenges closer to home.  

Mr Atherton, who lives in Oxfordshire, brings with him a wealth of aviation experience having served for 34 years with the Royal Air Force retiring as an Air Vice-Marshal.  Among the roles he has performed are Commander, Basrah Air Station (2004-2005); Station Commander, RAF Lyneham (2005-2007); Director of the Military Aviation Authority (2012-2015) and Chief of Staff Operations, RAF HQ Air Command (2016).  Currently, he holds the position of RAF Commander at RAF Croughton. 

He said: "It is a huge privilege to be taking charge of a company that, thanks to Andy and his incredible team, is in excellent health. This provides me with a very firm foundation to further improve the Air Tattoo customer experience and explore new and exciting commercial opportunities.

"Over the years, it's been my good fortune to have attended a number of RAFCTE organised events including the airshow and 'RAF in Concert' performances. These occasions have always been first class.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to apply the broad range of experience I've gained in the Royal Air Force to benefit the company and ultimately the Trust, which does such an excellent job inspiring young people and supporting the RAF family."

RAFCTE Chairman Alan Smith said: "Andy has been a fantastic inspiration at RAFCTE during the past six years and the Trust and its beneficiaries have benefitted hugely as a result. Whilst I am sad that he has decided to step down in the autumn, I am delighted that we can today announce the appointment of Paul as Andy's successor in the role of CEO of RAFCTE.

"Paul's vast experience of military aircraft operations and aviation safety makes him the ideal person to take forward and grow RAFCTE's commercial activities, whilst ensuring that the Air Tattoo remains both safe and financially successful.

"I wish Andy and his family a very happy future and Paul tremendous success in his new role."

Mr Atherton is married with two daughters. He has over 5,000 hours flying experience as a pilot on 7 aircraft types. His interests include all sport, reading and gardening. 


“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Former Formula 1 Racing Driver

“Probably the most complete air show I’ve ever been to!”

Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

“This is THE best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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