Air Show Possible In 2018; More Likely In 2019

November 6, 2017

The air show at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport may return next year or in 2019.

The Pittston Twp. airport held its first air show in 17 years on Aug. 12 and 13, drawing about 25,000 people but losing about $70,000.

Airport officials applied to the U.S. Department of Defense to host performers next year or in 2019, airport Director Carl Beardsley said. The agency normally announces where its performers will go in two-year cycles at the end of the year, he said.

“This past air show was such a success, and we were so happy to be able to provide it to the community,” Beardsley said. “Even if we aren’t able to do it in 2018, I think there will another one in the future at some point.”

The airport director said he believes it is more likely the Defense Department would assign acts to Northeast Pennsylvania in 2019, because much of next year’s schedule is set. Even if the region doesn’t make the cut, cancellations at other air shows could still free up performers.

Lackawanna County Commissioner Jerry Notarianni, who serves on the airport board, said he would favor bringing the air show back next year but it might be tough on airport staff. If not next year, then 2019, he said.

“I think it would be wise to hold an air show every other year,” said Luzerne County Councilman Rick Williams, who also sits on the airport board. “It would give the staff time to collect themselves and not oversaturate the public with it.”

Officials said they see room for improvement with the bottom line because the airport sunk significant money into materials, such as fences, that can be reused. Sponsorships also came in lower than expected, they said.

If the Department of Defense assigns an act for next summer, Beardsley said the airport board would need to decide in the beginning of the year if there will be a 2018 air show.

“This is an undertaking that, at the very least, takes seven months to put together,” he said.

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