No rodeo… no airshow, 2013 seems to be the year of “no” for one local city. It was just announced that the city of Pocatello will not be hosting their annual airport appreciation day because of a shortage of volunteers and uncertainty over the future of their air traffic control tower.
It’s the one day a year that the Pocatello Regional Airport has more air traffic than San Diego, Portland, or Oakland and so you can see why the air traffic controller situation would cause an issue.
“It’s not a local problem, it is a national problem,” said David Allen, Airport Manager. “With all the sequester cutbacks, there’s two issues. Number one, the towers that are being threatened with closure, there’s currently 149 towers that could face closure on June 15th unless some other action is taken. The other thing is the military sequester cutbacks.”
For many, the airport appreciation day was the only time they could fly in an airplane. It introduced thousands of people to the world of aviation every year. It was good for the industry and even better for the airport and that’s why organizers hope to bring this event back as soon as they can.
“We offer a lot that I don’t think people in Pocatello are familiar with,” said Wendy Harris, Committee Chair. “We have jet service. The AV Center has their charter service. We have a flight school. We have many things that the community is not even aware that we have out here in their backdoor. We would like to keep doing this event every year so that they can come out here and have a chance to see the static display. This airport used to be a large military base and I think it’s very important that the history of that continues.”
They realized with last year’s event that it is going to take a larger budget to make this event a major draw in the region. They are currently exploring funding option to make this happen.
Also affected by the sequestration cuts are the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron and Air Force Thunderbird team. These two fan favorites may not be putting on any shows this year.
Airport Appreciation Day will be held Saturday, June 21, 2014. For additional information, contact airport management at 208-234-6154.