Early Indications: Attendance Strong Again in 2010

April 21st, 2010

Although the early reports this year are not quite as dramatic as they were at the beginning of the 2009 season, it does appear that last year’s trend toward higher attendance is continuing into the early part of the 2010 North American air show season.

For example, representatives from the NAF El Centro Air Show held March 13 and 14 reported a 14 percent increase vs. 2009. Air Fiesta 2010 in Brownsville, Texas (March 13 and 14) estimated that attendance was twice as large as their last show. The last open house at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson was held in 2007. Organizers estimated that their crowd this year (March 19-21) was more than 50 percent larger than the last show held there. MacDill AFB (March 20 and 21) reported that they were well on their way to breaking previous attendance records before bad weather kept people away on a gloomy Sunday in Tampa. And ICAS has heard similar reports from shows in Georgia, California, Texas, and Alabama.

These reports of increased crowd size are not universal. And, just like last year, these reports of large crowds are offset in many cases by decreased sponsor revenue. But it is encouraging that, in many markets, air shows continue to be seen as a source of cost-effective, world-class, family entertainment.