INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The 2013 Indianapolis Air Show was canceled Tuesday due to the wide-ranging impact of sequestration .
The show's executive committee made the decision after looking at a number of factors. One factor is that under sequestration, U.S. military jet teams are grounded until further notice.
In 2012, more than 81-thousand people attended the Indianapolis Airshow over a three day period. Organizers with the Indianapolis Airshow say their deadline to submit printing material for the 2013 show was March 1. That's the same day budget cuts known as the sequester are set to take place.
"Since we were scheduled to have the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and there's a lot of concern about whether any of the military jets teams will perform during the 2013 air show season, and as we looked at some of the other military support we would get from National Guard groups like Shelbyville for example and their helicopters, there's a lot of military involvement. If those were pulled back, that would kill one prime element of the show," said Indianapolis Air Show Chairman Robert Duncan.
The 17th annual show was scheduled for June 15-16 at Indianapolis Regional Airport neat Mt. Comfort. The Blue Angels were scheduled to appear as the show's jet team headliner.
"Even if Congress does take some action that mitigates the budget cutbacks, there could still be an admiral or general that is required to cut certain costs in their command. And, they may make the unilateral decisions that they'll stand down the jet teams to make that budget cut work. We lost a $10,000 sponsor yesterday because of this uncertainty. And, our ticket sales, which would be starting up now, if we sold too many pre-sale tickets and then ended up having to refund all those tickets people bought, waiting another month, that could be problematic from our cash flow side," Duncan said.
The air show cost around $600,000 to produce last year, Duncan said. And, while it has never lost money, its revenue has been down.
With bills for insurance and other show costs coming due next month, Duncan said the show's executive committee decided to take action sooner rather than later.
"To not have the air show have adequate funds to pay those bills, we end up doing severe reputation harm to our integrity because we failed to pay those bills," he said.
"In addition, The Indianapolis Air Show has always been a fundraiser for Riley Hospital. And, over the last couple of years, the Department of Defense has a policy that only broad based charities can receive military support. In their view, Riley Hospital is not a broad based charity, such as United Way and the Central Indiana Community Fund," Duncan said.
The airshows director of operations, Beth Vahle says the community has supported the show for 16 years.
"We are hopeful that we will be able to put together a successful Airshow for 2014," Vahle said. "We sold about $1,500 worth of tickets. Because of the circumstances, we will refund the money."
Vahle says it was a tough decision for the committee to cancel the show, but she and other colleagues now have tough choices of their own to make.
Despite the show's cancelation this year, Duncan says organizers will look at ways to improve it for future years.
"What we need to do with the show is re-invent it so we can get back to our core roots of being a Riley fundraiser," he said. "It was a very tough decision for the executive committee to make. But, the air show will be back."
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