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Airshow may make return flight to Summerside

The Snowbirds in flight over the skies of Summerside during a previous air show.
The Snowbirds in flight over the skies of Summerside during a previous air show. - The Journal Pioneer

The city has hosted the Atlantic Canada International Air Show three other times

SUMMERSIDE – The Atlantic Canada International Air Show is making a bid to hold its 2018 event in Summerside.

Colin Stephenson, spokesperson for the air show, spoke to Summerside City Council during its December monthly meeting asking for a $20,000 cash contribution, a $20,000 of in-kind services and requested $20,000 of the city’s accommodations levy fund.

“We’re pleased to be in front of you once again, looking at the opportunity to bring Air Show Atlantic to Summerside.”

Summerside hosted the event three other times.

The 2018 show, had already been planned for Shearwater, N.S., with the decision to relocate the show stemming from accommodation reasons.

“We need to find a home with only 11 months to plan the event.”

If it comes to Summerside it could tentatively run on Aug. 25 and 26.

A big draw for Summerside is the resurfaced airstrip in Slemon Park.

“It will allow us to bring performers onto the site, where as in past we’ve had to land our jets in Charlottetown.”

Along with the Snowsbirds and a handful of other performers, Stephenson hopes to see the DeHavilland Vampire make an appearance.

“This is Canada’s very first fighter jet. It’s been waiting in the wings, while we look for a location for this year.”

The critical thing is getting the funding in order.

Typically the municipal funds are “the first domino”, he said. 

“We have long standing government partners like Innovation P.E.I., which is contingent on a decision from the city, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Veterans Affairs for support.”

Stephenson has asked Innovation P.E.I. and ACOA for $50,000 each, and through the Community Engagement Fund, will ask Veterans Affairs for $10,000 in support of the Vampire and other military aircrafts. 

Stephenson and his team predicts the show will cost about $485,903 compared to 2015’s $467,444. They also anticipate net operations income loss of about $14,703 for 2018, compared to $135,687 in 2015.

“We have a substantial hole to dig ourselves out of when it comes to our financial performance in Summerside.”

Stephenson predicts the show will make $471,200.

No decision was made, but Summerside Mayor Bill Martin committed to making the decision in January.

Performers for the Atlantic Canada International Airshow may include:

– The Snowbirds

– CF18 Hornet Jets

– Canadian Forces SkyHawks

– Royal Canadian Army

– Working Aircrafts: the Hercules, the Cormorant and Cyclone Helicopters

– Brent Handy Aerobatics

– DeHavilland Vampire 

– Gary Ward and Extreme Aerobatics

– L-29 Jet Trainer

– Mark IV Mustang

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