Saturday, September 2, 2017

Northeastern Pennsylvania Air Show loses money

PITTSTON TWP. — Although 25,000 people attended the Northeastern Pennsylvania Air Show, the airport lost about $70,000 on the event.

About 10,000 people came on Aug. 12 and about 15,000 on Aug. 13, according to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport Director Carl Beardsley Jr.

The air show returned after a 17-year hiatus.

However, the airport lost money on the event, in part because it had been so long since the last one was held. To host the show, the airport had to purchase materials, including fencing.

“We had to recreate our grounds into a fairgrounds, which we hadn’t had to do since 2000 so you’re talking about everything new,” said Gary Borthwick, airport director of finance and administration.

Sponsorships for the show came in lower than expected. Airport officials anticipated sponsors would spend about $200,000 and sponsorship only amounted to about $150,000, Beardsley said at an airport board meeting Thursday.

Tickets to the air show were $20 for adults, $15 for youth ages 6-12, and children age 5 and under were free. The prices were lower than other air shows, he said.

“We wanted this to be family fun and because of that, we wanted to make sure that it was affordable for families to go to,” Beardsley said. “As a result, we kept the prices as low as possible, probably a little bit lower than industry standards, but that’s OK because the people of this community and the children of this community were able to have an affordable day right here at this airport.”

Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick O’Malley said the air show’s economic impact was immense.

Hotel rooms were booked for the weekend and people who came in for the air show were dining at area restaurants, Beardsley said.

Local food vendors also were at the air show and a number of volunteer groups worked at the stands.

At the meeting, airport board officials awarded checks to some groups who helped with the stands, including Pittston Area Band Booster, Brick United Methodist Church, Duryea Boy Scout Troop 285, Marywood University Aviation Management Program and Riverside Vikings PTA Inc.

Other groups who helped and will receive checks include the Civil Air Patrol, Dunmore High School Cheer Squad, Keystone Karma, Lackawanna Valley Scale Modelers, Old Forge High School’s Spirit Elite Club, Quarterback Club, Lady Devils Basketball and Cross Country, Riverside Vikings Helping Vikings, and Wyoming Valley West Marching Band Parent Association.

In all, about $40,000 will be presented to the groups who worked at the stands as fund-raisers for their organizations, Borthwick said.

“I just can’t thank them enough for what they did for the community and what they did for the air show,” Beardsley said.

It has not yet been determined if there will be an air show next year, he said.

In other business, Beardsley announced the number of passengers boarding planes at the airport in July increased 21.7 percent since last July. In all, 25,671 people boarded planes last month.

The increase is mainly attributed to American Airlines’ increased service to Charlotte, North Carolina. Delta Airlines and Allegiant Airlines saw increases as well, he said.

“July was the third consecutive record-breaking month for us,” he said.

Original article can be found here ➤

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