2019 Edmonton Airshow Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Why was the event cancelled?
A1.1. Forecast periods of heavy rain was not going to allow a successful drying of grass surfaces. Significant damage to the airport was a very real possibility. Edmonton Airports decided to revoke our permission to use the airfield, citing asset and patron safety. The removal of this permission, and the lack of an available alternate, caused the cancellation.
Q2. Why didn’t you have another airfield at the ready?
A2.1. Airshows are not easily moved from one location to another. They take months to secure permissions, site reconnaissance, traffic control, neighbourhood consultations, etc. Thousands of hours are spent making insurers, regulators, performers, and others comfortable with the layout and the traffic.
A2.2. Aviation assets usually perform on site reconnaissance exercises up to 60 days prior to a show.
A2.3. Securing all this, regardless of expense, would have not solved our situation. The nearest airfield that could host this event was 5+ hours away.
Q3. Why didn’t you just delay?
A3.1. Performers have several shows to attend. These schedules are made up by December of the prior year, and some jet teams are 2 years out.
A3.2. Vendors and suppliers have other commitments throughout the year.
A3.3. Our season is incredibly short, leaving September as the only alternate dates. These are already booked out.
Q4. Why didn’t you consider bussing?
A4.1. We did consider bussing. The number of busses required to do a full patron load would be prohibitive in terms of available assets. It was not logistically feasible.
Q5. Why not use rig/swamp matting?
A5.1. We would need over 80 acres of mats. There is not enough mats available on such short notice, and this would also take weeks to install.
A5.2. Cost prohibitive.
Q6. Why not pave the lot?
A6.1. Cost prohibitive for the current uses.
Q7. What happens to advance ticket sales?
A7.1. Given the limited funding we do receive, the advance ticket sales go towards vendor/supplier and performer nonrefundable deposits, contractor costs, insurance, fees, and other immediate needs.
A7.2. Most of our revenue is generated 2 weeks out. Being weather dependent, many folks make a call to attend then. The revoking of our permit occurred before our peak time.
A7.3. Any additional sponsor or government money cannot be used outside the purpose intended. Ticket refunds, especially ones contractually issues as a non-refundable ticket, do not qualify.
A7.4. We are a small not-for-profit with only one revenue source. When that is cancelled, there is not a huge pocket of continuous revenue like a Costco, so we have to use other means.
Q8. Why offer refunds?
A8.1. We wanted to be respectful to the buying public given the sudden nature of the field access being revoked.
A8.2. Normally outdoor event tickets are non-refundable. Standard event industry processes in 2019 and earlier have this in place. If you review your Folk Fest and other tickets, you will see a non-refundable term on them as well.
A8.3. We are working with industry partners to discuss how Airshows will handle this in the future.
A8.4. COVID-19 postponements occurred before most shows needed to put down deposits. It is a primary reason some shows postponed early. This had advanced sales available for refunds vs being sent for deposits.
Q9. Why are you in litigation?
A9.1. We cannot go into details as this is before the courts. Once all records are submitted, this will be on public record. We can comment at that time.
A9.2. We will not engage in public negotiation or other tactics with our underwriter. We will do our talking in the Court of Queen’s Bench and let professional adjudicators do their job. We are confident in our position, and respectful of the due process involved.
Q10. Why is this taking so long?
A10.1. This process is different from your typical auto claim. This is large in value and effort. The time taken to date is arduous, and for us, absolutely excruciating. The past 11 months were painful on many levels, and those left are working hard to make this a success.
A10.2. We are working within the legislation, and our partners are allowed their due process. We will respect that.
A10.3. COVID-19 Court closures forced a delay in our processing by ~90 days. The courts for civil litigation have just reopened.
Q11. Why are you asking us to email [email protected] for status?
A11.1. Given where we are on 2019, it is crucial to ensure that there is no hearsay, rumour, inuendo, or unintentional miscommunication in the information presented.
A11.2. We condensed to one source of the truth in November as some conversations via Twitter and Facebook had one tone in Messenger or Direct Messages, then when people would recant the conversations, a different account would be published. We also need all conversations written and on the record, hence why we ask all to write in with their concerns vs casual conversations via phone or in person.
A11.3. Weekly email blasts were seen as spam and annoying. Most people just want the final date when we can process refunds, to which we cannot comment on officially until we are through this process. We’ve committed to sending out a communication when a major status change occurs – that being successful resolution of our claim, our court case, or changes in the 2020 show dates.
A11.4. A “pull” strategy was seen as the simplest way to update folks when they wanted an update, we updated the email as frequently as possible, and this allowed people to access information on their schedule.
Q12. Why didn’t you offer 2020 tickets yet?
A12.1. Initially we were looking at changing our Point of Sale provider.
A12.2. COVID started to become an issue in November, 2019. Our Asian partners, as well as some North American partners started talking about a bad flu season that could affect the spring.
A12.3. By our industry conference in March, we were already in the last week prior to the lockdown. Flights were locked down the following Monday.
A12.4. We’ve monitored several news sites, as well as garnered updates from Police and Health sources. We also are working with the Province to get final approval on a few options.
A12.5. A final decision will be announced July 15, 2020. Should we have to postpone, all non-refunded 2019 tickets will still be honoured in 2021.
Q13. Do you have a future?
A13.1. Yes. We have successfully navigated hurdles that now allow us to be a longer-term player in the Alberta diversification conversation. More will be announced.
A13.2. We’ve applied to host the North West Council of Airshows conference this year in Edmonton – the first time it has left the west coast in its entire history. Getting international delegates to come to Edmonton in the dead of winter is a hard task, but the professional organizational efforts have delegates looking forward to the trip. More will be announced.
A13.3. Discussions with international partners such as Reno remain intact.