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UPDATE: Partnership clears the runway for Atlantic City Air Show to take off

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News that the Atlantic City Air Show would be grounded this year was greatly exaggerated, it seems.

The South Jersey Transportation Association will put up $300,000 to fund the event, while the Atlantic City International Airport will act as presenter.

There was some turbulence getting there, as planners moved toward a deadline hindered by increased costs and not enough funding.

But, even as some media reported the Air Show would be taking a hiatus, there was already a plan in the works.

"If I were a betting man, I'd say, 'See you on the Boardwalk mid-August,'" Mayor Marty Small said Tuesday.

He would not give a definitive answer, instead saying a news conference would be held at a later time involving those who run the show.

But anyone who knows the man who makes sure every City Hall call is answered with "It's a great day here in the city of Atlantic City," could tell the news was not going to be bad.

"I always tell my staff, 'Relationships matter,'" Small said at a news conference Wednesday, officially announcing the show is a go.

When the mayor heard of the potential cancelation, he called Greater Atlantic City Chamber President Michael Chait and asked for a number.

 A quarter-million to put it on, was the response. But $300,000 to do what they want.

The mayor called the governor.

"We're not having any beach concerts this year," Small explained. "It's vitally important we save this air show."

On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy put out a statement that the show was saved,

"The Atlantic City Airshow brings thousands of spectators to the beaches of Atlantic City every year and is essential to the success of the city's economy," he said. "We're thrilled to announce a partnership with the South Jersey Transportation Authority and Atlantic City International Airport to ensure this fantastic event takes place this summer." 

The event brings in upwards of 500,000 and has a $50 million-a-day economic impact, Chait said.

"We’re proud to be a partner in the airshow," said Meet AC President and CEO Larry Sieg. "We have a vested interest in this event."

It will look a bit different this year.

The signature Thunderbirds alerted the show in December that they are no longer doing weekday events, so would not be attending. 

The group gets 2,500 requests each year, and usually does not attend the same event more than two years in a row, Chait explained.

"We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have them for 20 years," he said.

The planners are considering moving the event to a weekend to a shoulder season month, possibly May, June or September, he said.

That would also clear the way for the Blue Angels to return as well. 

Plans are done two years in advance, so the soonest a change would happen is 2026.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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