Nova Scotia

Pandemic uncertainty grounds Air Show Atlantic planned for late August

Air Show Atlantic 2021 scheduled for August in Nova Scotia has been cancelled because of the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

'We've got to survive to live to fight another day and put on more air shows'

Air Show Atlantic 2021 has been cancelled because of uncertainty around pandemic restrictions. In this photo, pilot Brent Handy performs at the Air Show Atlantic in P.E.I. in 2018. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Air Show Atlantic 2021 scheduled for late August in Debert, N.S., has been cancelled because of uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a news release, organizers said that despite months of planning it was determined "in the best interest of the health and safety of Maritimers" that the show be cancelled this year.

Organizers had been planning a drive-in format for the show to comply with COVID-19 regulations. That plan has now been abandoned. 

In an Air Show Atlantic podcast interview, Colin Stephenson, the organization's executive director, said there were many questions surrounding getting participants to the event.

"The big thing is what's the Atlantic bubble or the Nova Scotia bubble going to look like, what's the quarantine period going to be, what regime do we have to set up to get them in here safely and do it," Stephenson said.

"The province is in a terrible position to say 'here are the rules' because the rules keep changing."

'Fight another day'

Stephenson said another major concern that led to the decision to cancel the event was the challenge of maintaining the aerobatic safety box — a requirement for ensuring the safety of pilots and aircraft participating in the event.

In the case of the Air Show Atlantic in Debert, this envelope would have covered forested areas and ATV and hiking trails which would have to be secured.

Additionally, Stephenson said, ground search and rescue teams are restricted under pandemic regulations from doing anything other than core search activities. 

He said refunds would be issued to people who had already paid in anticipation of this year's show. 

Stephenson said as a not-for-profit organization, Air Show Atlantic was not in a position to risk financial loss on a show this year. 

"We've got to survive to live to fight another day and put on more air shows."

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