Air show returning to Summerside, this time with jets

The Atlantic Air Show is returning to Summerside, P.E.I., and for the first time in years will have Air Force jets flying out of the airport.

Refurbished runway means jets and snowbirds can fly out of airport this year

The Snowbirds jets will fly out of Summerside Airport in August during the Atlantic Air Show, which is returning to P.E.I. this year. (Michael MacDonald/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Atlantic International Air Show is returning to Summerside, P.E.I., and for the first time in years will have Air Force jets flying out of the airport.

The Summerside Airport in Slemon Park has a newly refurbished runway that will allow the jets and the snowbirds to fly out of the airport, rather than from Charlottetown.

Colin Stephenson, the executive director of the air show, told CBC News: Compass that due to the Shearwater Airport in Nova Scotia being too busy, they were forced to look for a new location on short notice and Summerside was the perfect spot because they've already been there before.

"We were left scrambling to find a location for 2018 with just 10 months to plan," Stephenson said. "We turned to an old friend, really, and said look we're stuck, we're looking for a spot, we're familiar with the community, the community is familiar with us, can we put it together pretty quickly?"

Take off, land from same airport

Another added benefit for the Summerside location this year is that all the planes will be able to take off and land from the same airport, which will heighten the fan experience, Stephenson said.

"The jets are able to go there instead of being staged out of Charlottetown, which is a huge difference for the fans," he said. "It's still just as fantastic from the air when they fly but the fans will be able to see the aircraft on the ground, see the pilots, we can do autograph sessions, can watch them get fuel and smoke oil being loaded on board and that's really interesting for the fans as well.

"I think the close proximity is going be really good for them, a big change from our last couple of shows."

It will be the fourth time in eight years the show is held on P.E.I., with financial support from Innovation PEI and the Summerside accommodations levy, as well as corporate sponsors.

The show will be held on Aug. 25 and 26 and organizers say it will yield an economic impact of roughly $2 million for Summerside and the area. Over 10,000 people are expected to attend the show.