Contingency Planning During the 2013 Air Show Season

February 10th, 2013

Just as the military is developing plans to implement budget cuts even though they still hope and expect to avoid those cuts, air show professionals are developing contingency plans to operate their air show businesses without the involvement of the U.S. military.

“Although the pending budget cuts could present considerable challenges to our North American air show community, many of our members are already contemplating changes that can be made to minimize the disruption and impact of a reduced military presence during this year’s air show season,” says ICAS President John Cudahy. “The potential disruption is considerable, but our industry has a demonstrated record of being imaginative, resourceful and resilient in the face of these kinds of challenges.”

For proven tactics among event organizers, many shows will likely look toward those shows with a history of doing well without a jet team or single-ship demos. Many shows are already contacting and considering alternative acts to provide the same “grand finale” entertainment that the military has provided in the past. For example, Tora Tora Tora, the Patriot Jet Team, Robosaurus and Art Nalls will likely be getting more phone calls in the next few weeks.

Performers and support service providers who are planning on participating in shows at U.S. military bases will face their own challenges in developing contingency plans that could include the cancellation of those shows, but the process has already started for some. One-time cost-cutting steps and renewed marketing efforts will likely be part of those plans.

As this issue develops during the coming days and weeks, ICAS will use this space to pass along useful ideas, relevant case histories and other information to help our members adjust and adapt during a 2013 air show season that now appears likely to present some unusual challenges.