2013 Cleveland Air Show canceled due to federal sequestration budget cuts

CLEVELAND - The 2013 Cleveland Air Show is canceled because of federal sequestration budget cuts on the Department of Defense and Aerospace Industry.

Planning and preparation is moving forward for the 2014 Cleveland National Air Show featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, according to the air show website.

The tentative 2014 dates are Aug. 30 through Sept. 1.

A recent Under Secretary of Defense memorandum stated, "All aerial demonstrations, including flyovers, jump team demonstrations, and participation in civilian air shows and military open houses will cease as of April 1, 2013."

"After considering the effect this will have on programming, attendance and the financial viability of producing a 2013 event, the Executive Committee of Cleveland National Air Show, Inc. Board of Trustees made the decision to cancel this year's Air Show. Though regrettable, this action is viewed to be in the long term best interest of the Air Show, the City of Cleveland and the valued fans that annually attend the event," said Chuck Newcomb, executive director.

"The loss of the Cleveland National Air Show, an important Cleveland tradition, is an unfortunate consequence of the federal budget debate in Washington D.C. It represents just one of the many cuts to federal funding and programs that have an impact on the local level," said Mayor Frank Jackson in a news release. "It is our hope that the debate can be settled soon to prevent further cuts and minimize the long term impact sequestration can have on local communities."

But Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said the county is not giving up.

"We are looking at our legal options and I was hoping maybe we could make an announcement on that today, we can't. We're looking to see if there's some type of emergency legal action we can file," he said. "I hope people are mad as hell about this because to me it's just absolutely the height of irresponsibility the way the federal government is handling this."

FitzGerald was asked if the federal government was doing this to make a splash in the fight over sequestration.

"I do, I do. I think it's the same thing that sometimes school districts do where they say well if we have budget problems the first  thing we'll cut is the football team. I think this is the federal government's version of cutting the football team."

And he said it's not just the impact of losing an event that hundreds of thousands of people look forward to each year.

"Cuyahoga County Airport has about $150 million worth of payroll that is linked to it. There's about 54 businesses and a couple of thousand employees that rely on that and we compete with other airports across the country so they're really cutting the legs out from under us in terms of our ability to use that as a driver of our local economy."

The Cleveland National Air Show has been Northeast Ohio's Labor Day Weekend tradition since 1964, attracting 60,000 to 100,000 visitors to Burke Lakefront Airport, making it one of the region's largest annual events.

The Air Show has an annual economic impact of $7.1 million+ on Cleveland.

For more information visit clevelandairshow.com or call 216-781-0747.

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