The reasons for RIAT's decline in attendance terms at least is down to many, many reasons. I'd suggest the following are just some of them, which the new man could do worse than consider...
* Heavy-handed security and resulting queues
* Spiralling cost
* Mediocre and repeat displays year on year
* The spectacle of the "theatre of the air" diminished by red tape and the ever receding display line
* The lack of public space on the crowdline without paying extra for grandstand or enclosure access
* Having to decide in advance on which day to attend
* Unpredictable weather/lack of shelter on the airfield (granted, not much can be done about this)
* Increased fuel and accomodation prices (again, out of RIAT's hands)
* Little variation/innovation in marketing the event
I can't see how any of that is a RIAT only problem.
Have you ever had to go through security on a public day at RIAT over the last few years? In my experience the teams have been nothing but polite and the waiting time was minimal. I can't understand why you think having a security check which takes a few minutes puts people from going to the airshow. It's been a part of RIAT for a long time now.
All the other points can equally be applied to the majority of shows across the UK. All air shows are struggling for variety that everyone craves for. That problem is never going to go away but get worse. I'll be honest and say my enthusiasm for aviation and air shows has rapidly declined over the last couple of years. But that's a fact of life.
The bigger shows are going to continue to struggle because of their size and our expectations. The peak has already past us and I can't see how they will survive over the next decade unless some serious thought goes into the overall airshow format (do we need full day flying displays anymore? Quality vs Quantity), the size of the budgets and whether they continue to be held annually. And that doesn't just apply to RIAT but others too. It wouldn't surprise me if we start to see some consolidation of the bigger shows and some of our traditional ones disappearing in the near future. These could be replaced with what the rest of Europe is doing with one off "mega shows" at particular anniversaries.
Mr Armstrong will have a tough job but lets judge him on what he does when he's in the job rather than cut him down before he's even started. I'm sure he did some research before applying for it!