Avoca, PA (December 20, 2018) – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport announced today that its next Air Show will be in 2020 during the weekend of August 22– 23.
For months, Airport officials have been working with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to seek permission to close certain parts of the Turnpike near the Airport to allow for the renowned U.S. Navy Blue Angels to perform during Memorial Day weekend 2019. The expected heavy Memorial Day/holiday traffic precluded any Turnpike closures during that time, reported Carl Beardsley, AVP Executive Director.
The United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, was to be the main attraction of the 2019 NEPAirshow, which was going to be held earlier than the normal August timeframe due to their availability. The performances require air and ground space in the vicinity of the Turnpike near the Airport to be closed certain times that weekend.
“We understand the PA Turnpike Commission’s position and are disappointed for sure,” noted Beardsley. “Fortunately, we have worked out a plan for August 2020 that will make the next air show an incredible spectacle. More specifically, we have been informed by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds that they plan to participate in NEPAirshow 2020, as well.”
Beardsley explained that staging an Air Show is a complicated process. It involves establishing an “aerial box” with the FAA where an aircraft will fly, which sometimes requires temporarily closing roadways on the ground so that no one is in the aerial box.
All possible options were explored with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration, David Schultz Air Shows and the USN Blue Angels. After a very detailed review and final meetings the week of December 3rd, this decision was finalized.
“One of the roads that needs to be closed is the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 476) from Wyoming Valley to Clarks Summit. After much discussion, the Turnpike Commission was unable to close a portion of the Turnpike while the Blue Angels were to fly because of the busy Memorial Day/holiday traffic,” he noted. “For that reason, we chose to hold off until August 2020 so that we can do what is necessary to attract top talent to our show, have another great event, and ensure everyone’s safety.”
“While this is disappointing for 2019, our Airport team is already gearing up for August 2020 to deliver another great Air Show,” said Patrick M. O’Malley, Airport Board Chairman.