Blue Angels cancel Alliance Air Show appearance

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Blue Angels won't perform this year at the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show -- or anywhere else.

The Navy announced Tuesday that it has canceled the remaining 2013 acrobatic performances and practice demonstrations as a result of federal budget sequestration. The Blue Angels were scheduled to perform at the popular Fort Worth air show Oct. 19-20.

Blue Angels representatives informed air show officials of the decision Monday night, Tom Harris, president of Alliance Air Services, said in a statement.

"Although we are very disappointed to hear the Blue Angels have had to cancel their 2013 schedule, contingency plans are in place, and we are looking forward to sharing some exciting news in the near future about this year's performer lineup and ground attractions," Harris said.

Automatic federal budget cuts that took effect March 1 included a reduction in defense spending.

The Air Force also plans to ground about a third of its active-duty force of combat planes, the military announced Tuesday. The Air Force didn't immediately release a list of the specific units and bases that would be affected.

In February, a Navy report suggested that Blue Angels shows would be a casualty of the cuts, so the cancellation did not come as a surprise.

Cancellation of the 2013 shows is expected to save $15 million to $20 million, said Lt. Aaron Kakiel, media officer for the Naval Air Forces command in San Diego.

Earlier this month, the Air Force canceled its Thunderbird shows for the year.

In a statement Tuesday, the Blue Angels said: "The Blue Angels are disappointed in this decision but recognize this is one of many steps the Navy is taking to ensure resources are in place to support our forces operating forward now and those training to relieve them."

The Blue Angels were founded in 1946 as a flight exhibition team to increase public interest in naval aviation, according to the Navy.

"The Navy believes there is value in demonstrating the professionalism and capabilities of our Navy and Marine Corps team, thus inspiring future generations of sailors and Marines," the statement said. "The Navy intends to continue aerial demonstration in the future when the budget situation permits."

The Blue Angels were scheduled to perform Saturday and Sunday in Corpus Christi at the 2013 South Texas Shootout. Navy officials canceled that air show in March shortly after the budget cuts took effect.

The absence of the Blue Angels at the Fort Worth show will be disappointing, said Jim Hodgson, executive director of the Veterans Memorial Air Park in Fort Worth. Last month, an F/A-18 Hornet that once flew over North Texas as part of the Blue Angels was put on display at the air park.

The Fort Worth Alliance Air Show typically draws more than 100,000 to Alliance Airport in far north Fort Worth and brings more than $5.4 million annually to North Texas, according to air show officials.

This report contains material from The Associated Press.

Alex Branch, 817-390-7689

Twitter: @albranch1

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