easyJet has been confirmed as the main sponsor of the Southend Airshow.

The spectacular summer show is one of the jewels in the crown of Southend’s annual entertainment programme and the UK’s biggest airline has stepped in to provide much-needed cash.

The event, which attracts about 300,000 visitors to Southend, was funded by Southend Council last year and in 2010 it had no headline sponsor.

The event has been held annually on the late May bank holiday weekend for 26 years, but in recent years most of the £60,000 staging costs have fallen on the council – Maxims Casino was the last sponsor in 2009.

Now this year’s airshow will take place on Saturday 26 and Sunday May 27, a week before the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration weekend which will kick-start a summer of events in Southend.

The event is two days packed full of barrel rolls, nosedives and loop-the-loops as the skies above Southend seafront become the focus for thousands of aviation fans.

Families flock to the seaside for displays including the world-famous Red Arrows, wingwalkers and a host of other planes, as well as music and other entertainment shows.