All Blue Angels airshows in the foreseeable airshow will be canceled if sequester cannot be avoided.
According to the Fox News, Coast Dispatch, President Obama and congressional leaders are meeting today with the hopes of avoiding the sequester. If a deal is not reached, the government will automatically cut $85 billion from the federal budget. If that happens, all Blue Angels shows will be cancelled indefinitely.
One of the first air shows to see the effects of the budget cut will be the OC Air Show in June. Blue Angels pilot Dave Tickle said that he is focused on training for the show despite the looming cuts. Bryan Lilley of Ocean City Air Show LLC said that the show would go on with or without the Blue Angels.
Lilley told the MD Coast Dispatch:
“With military support or without military support, our full intention is to move forward with an air show …. We are planning for all cases, and in all cases there will be an air show in Ocean City on June 8 and 9.”
News Max reports that the Blue Angels are scheduled to appear at more than two dozen air shows this Summer. All of those shows (at least the Blue Angels portion) will be cancelled if the sequester cannot be prevented.
Of course, the famous aviators are only one small item on the chopping block. The Defense Department said that the budget cuts would curb ship and aircraft maintenance, shorten training periods, and will decrease pay for many of the Pentagon’s 800,000 civilian employees.
But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t upset about the Blue Angels.
Ashton Hayward, mayor of Pensacola, Florida, said:
“They’re an American icon, and they really resonate in a military town. People plan their annual family trips around the shows and the impact on business is phenomenal,” Hayward said. “If the Blue Angels end, it’s going to be a sad, sad day for not just us, but for millions of people all over the country.”
It may save the government money to cancel Blue Angels shows but it will also cost towns money. Hayward, who sees the aviation squad fly every Summer over Pensacola Beach, said that the airshow dumped $2.5 million into the local economy in 2012.