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Fri, Apr 05, 2013

Air Show Interests Lobby On Capitol Hill

Industry Stung By Military Cancellations Due To Sequestration

It's no secret that several major air shows around the country have severely scaled back their plans or cancelled their shows entirely after sequestration forced the U.S. military to place a freeze on aircraft demonstration teams like the Navy's Blue Angels, the Air Force Thunderbirds, and others.

According to a report published by the Center for Public Integrity and relayed by the Huffington Post, the air show industry is fighting back with a lobbying effort on Capitol Hill. ICAS has retained the services of the lobbying firm Van Scoyoc Associates, the first time the organization has ever hired a lobbyist.

ICAS president John Cudahy told the Center For Public Integrity that the freeze "represents a threat to our existence as an industry." He said that there could be hundreds of air shows around the country that might just go out of business without the ability to promote military jet demonstrations to draw audiences. He said while some areas of the government have taken a 15-20 percent cut, "we've seen a 100 percent cut in the support the U.S. military can provide air shows."

The firm has been retained on a month-to-month basis. ICAS is encouraging air show operators and promoters to advocate for their events as strongly as possible. A message on the ICAS website urges event organizers and anyone who enjoys air shows to be a part of the effort. "Tell the public about all of the aerial entertainment that will be available at your event. Emphasize your dates, location and website URL," the message states, adding that media attention to the situation gives air show promoters an opportunity to raise awareness about the issue.

Cudahy said this is the first time the organization has ever had to hire a lobbyist. "It's a pretty mom-and-apple-pie industry," he said.

FMI: www.airshows.aero

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