CELEBRATIONS to mark the 80th anniversary of the Spitfire have soared - thanks to a clash between a Southampton museum and the city's airport.

Three Spitfires will roar over the city to commemorate the day the original aircraft took to the skies for the first time on March 5 1936.

As reported, the Southampton-based Solent Sky Museum tried to organise a Spitfire flypast involving one of the planes taking off from the airport.

When Solent Sky and the airport failed to reach agreement museum bosses took matters into their own hands and arranged for two of the famous fighter aircraft to buzz the city.

But the airport is staging its own tribute to the Spitfire.

It means that three of the iconic aircraft will be seen in the skies over Southampton this weekend - treble the number originally envisaged.

Alan Jones, director of Solent Sky Museum, said: "The airport didn't want to operate with us.

"They kept us waiting right up until January and we were not going to do it as we would not have had enough time to organise it.

"We managed to get some good friends of the museum to fly into Southampton from Biggin Hill over Mayflower Park.

"At least this way we get three Spitfires. The airport is doing their bit and we are doing ours."

An airport spokesman added: "Our event has been organised with Flying with Spitfires and has been arranged for a long time.

"It was not a case that we were choosing one over the other. When Solent Sky Museum contacted us to see if they could work with us we already had plans with Flying with Spitfires and we just don't have the resources to do two flypasts. If we could have done their event we would have loved to."

Designed by the legendary R J Mitchell the Spitfire was built at the Supermarine factory in Woolston, Southampton, and played a crucial role in winning the Battle of Britain.

For those keen to catch a glimpse of a Spitfire the first chance to do so will be from 11am on Saturday, weather permitting.

An aircraft will take off from the airport and fly the same route taken by the test pilot in 1936.

It will head south over the River Itchen before banking east, flying along the south coast and then turning north towards Lee-on-the-Solent and Portsmouth.

The second flypast will take place at 4pm, when two Spitfires will take off from Biggin Hill airport in Kent and head towards Southampton.

The planes will fly over the east of the city before buzzing Nursling. They will then fly towards Mayflower Park.