2020 Airshow Postponement in Detail
The following is a more detailed process as to how we arose at our decision. This is for information only, and formed the basis of our note to our stakeholders.
While we pushed every option, in consultation with our municipal and airport partners, we feel that it is currently inappropriate to continue planning for any version of a show in 2020. Unless there is a drastic and miraculous change, we are postponing any further planning for 2020, and focusing on 2021. The vision for 2021 is larger, with a branding change in the works. We regret not being able to fulfill a drive to return in 2020, but as you will see below, we ended up not having a plausible option.
The reasons are as follows:
- There is no certainty in the ability of the CBSA and related agencies to allow border crossings of American, British, and other pilots, servicemen and servicewomen to attend this show with their displays. It is categorically unfair to those staffing agencies to make them continue to jump through hoops to make something happen that is more than likely going to be blocked given the current health and political trends.
- The RCAF is still on pause post Kamloops. There is no published or indicated timeline for a return to regular flying duties prior to our event.
- I do not want to place undue stress on Edmonton Airport’s resources in a time of colossal stress in the industry. They’ve been great partners, and even better friends of the show.
- The ability to get final clarity on gatherings over 150 people is not going to happen in a timely fashion.
- Options like a drive-in airshow, or even a VIP only airshow have too many wrinkles to work out in time.
- Insurance as an industry is going through a very turbulent time. The Edmonton Airshow will continue to work with industry partners for future events.
- Augmenting our intense concern for public health, current and proposed litigation against organizations alleged to not have taken COVID-19 precautions to a yet-to-be-tested acceptable level suggests potential liability from secondary contacts. For example, while an attendee may be aware of the risks, the secondary contacts to friends, family, and others not attending the event and contracting COVID from an attendee who may or may not have contracted the virus from the event opens the show to unacceptable secondary risks to contributing to the pandemic.
- Edmonton’s selection as a hub city for the NHL will assuredly pull security details and local law enforcement assets to this event. Additionally, monitoring feedback from Edmontonians demonstrates a good deal of concern with the spread of COVID-19, even with an NHL bubble. To offer our patrons the security asked, we would have to include heavy handed security measures – further putting stress on the workforce and potentially creating a non-relaxed and enjoyable environment.
We seriously studied the following options before making this decision:
- Moving 2020 to the September long weekend.
- As of 15 July, no clear indication is forthcoming for a return of large events
- Snowbirds and CF-18 are still on stand-down
- Canadian border remains closed for the foreseeable future – recent CBC reports indicate it could last into 2021.
- Drive in airshow
- No clear guidance from insurance underwriters as to what would constitutes an acceptable risk scenario. We would need liability insurance
- Secondary contact concerns
- No acceptable way to enforce social distancing regulations
- Vendor food trucks, etc were not allowed in this concept
- Concerns over access to washroom facilities, etc
- VIP/Chalet style airshow
- Limit of 50 people in a chalet style cordoned off area
- Not enough tents in the Edmonton market
- All on site tents need to be engineer approved and laid out professionally to meet insurance and ERAA requirements.
- Disrupted sight lines
- High cost to produce
- No external food vendors and other vendors would have been allowed.
- Concerns over access to washrooms, etc.
While we could make a static line work, we would require extra stanchions and queueing lines, and again with Alberta only in a Phase 2 release, ensuring compliance without being heavy handed was a key consideration. Postponing to 2021 allows us to further work on this, and other queuing aspects of the show.
While this makes 2 years in a row without an Edmonton Airshow, we are working hard to ensure we come back in 2021. We still enjoy the support of the host Municipality, Sturgeon County. We enjoy the support of the Edmonton Regional Airport Authority. We also enjoy the newfound support within Her Majesty’s Government in Alberta. This concept is about much more than an Airshow; rather, a large-scale economic diversification, investment attraction, trade, and job attraction initiative for Aerospace, Defence, Manufacturing, Logistics/Transportation, and STEM. More will be released in the coming months on the expanded offerings for 2021, including the results of our bid to host this year’s North West Council of Airshows convention – the first time it has come to Alberta ever.
We wish our patrons, fans, vendors, performers, and our nation a safe remainder of 2020 and onward. We pray for all to emerge from the 2020 healthy and safe. Please take care of each other, and yourself.