FORT BLISS, Texas - Fort Bliss officials announced Friday afternoon that this year's Amigo Airsho would not take place at Biggs Army Airfield due to the sequestration.
This is the first time since the airshow began in 1981 that Fort Bliss will not be able to host the airshow.
"It goes without saying that we with the Amigo Airsho are greatly disappointed that Fort Bliss was forced to make this very difficult decision," Amigo Airsho's CEO Pancho Mangan said. "Regardless of this major development, we do aim to do whatever we can to make this year's Sho a reality. We do not have a contingency plan that we are able to confirm at this time, but we will keep the public informed as we move forward."
According to the International Council of Air Shows, over the past two months, more than 60 military-supported air shows have been cancelled. The two most prominent air shows in the United States, AirPower over Hampton Roads, traditionally held at Langley Air Force Base, Va., and The Take to the Skies AirFest in Durant, Oklahama, were cancelled last month. The Air Combat Command's F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, which was scheduled to participate at the 2013 Amigo Airshow, has been disbanded for the remainder of the fiscal year.
On March 23, 2013, the Under Secretary of Defense released a memorandum to
all military units regarding the localized impacts of sequestration. According to that document, all aerial demonstrations, including participation in civilian air shows, was to cease on April 1, 2013. Fort Bliss officials continued to plan for the 2013 Amigo Airsho in the event that sequestration was rescinded by the U.S. Congress.
"To remain consistent with the Under Secretary's guidance, Fort Bliss is reluctantly withdrawing its support for the 2013 Amigo Airsho," explained Major Joe Buccino, Fort Bliss spokesman. "We hope to resume our support for this great event next year, provided that sequestration is rescinded by Congress."
Mangan said the Amigo Airsho will continue its outreach and involvement in the community, including hosting its annual golf tournament on June 21 and continuing to grow its educational programming.
In early April, Amigo Airsho officials told ABC-7 they would still be able to have the airshow in October as planned but the lineup was adjusted.
Amigo Airsho officials had announced in early February that the Air Combat Command's F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team from Langley Air Force Base would perform at the Amigo Airsho in October for the first time, along with the U.S. Golden Knights, among others.
Since early this Spring, the sequestration has led to the grounding of all military demonstration teams and the U.S. Golden Knights also have cancelled their 2013 schedule.
In early April, Mangan sent ABC-7 this statement: "The Amigo Airsho is saddened for the many airshows across the country that have faced cancelations as a result of sequestration. Fortunately we have just over six months until the Amigo Airsho October 12-13, and only time can dictate how current cancelations will ultimately impact our program. Regardless, Airsho guests are guaranteed a world-class jet team performance by the amazing Canadian Forces Snowbirds. Additionally, we have just posted some new acts at www.amigoairsho.org, and we have several new features that will make this year's Sho bigger and better than ever before, from new static displays to the 'Amigos on Wheels' car show and more. We ask that our fans bear with us as we draw closer to the Sho and can better define our final performance lineup."