The 2022 Edmonton International Airshow has been cancelled as organizers and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) were faced with last-minute scheduling concerns, and an ongoing investigation into a recent incident with a Snowbird aircraft in British Columbia.
The Edmonton airshow, set to take place on Aug. 13 and 14 at Villeneuve Airport, will be postponed to 2023.
Airshow president Richard Skermer said in an interview with The Gazette that he and his team will be working to bring many, if not all, of the performers, acts, and vendors back for next year.
“We already have a lot of pieces in place for 2023 and upon this announcement my inbox is being flooded with positive responses for 2023," Skermer said.
"We were pretty depressed this morning but we’re starting to see pretty quickly that a lot of facets, including the RCAF, are saying 'we’re going to throw our weight behind you in 2023 to make it great.'”
Skermer said that although he can't speak for the RCAF, the air force is dealing with global and internal events that are causing scheduling issues.
"The three key things that I will speak about are the fact that [the RCAF] do have logistical concerns for things in Eastern Europe, but they also have logistical concerns for things in the Arctic; regular patrols; summer vacation, [and] the other airshows," Skermer said.
"They’re trying to balance all these things out, including the personnel shortages that they’re going through."
Another cause behind the airshow's cancellation was a recent incident involving an RCAF Snowbird at an airshow in Fort St. John earlier this week.
On Aug. 2, CBC reported that a Snowbird "went down" while in the process of taking off during the Fort St. John International Airshow. The pilot was not injured, according to reports.
Since the incident is currently under investigation, the RCAF informed Skermer that the Snowbirds, who were scheduled to fly in Edmonton, are unable to operate until the investigation is complete.
"Normal process is they’ll investigate the plane first, and then figure out if it’s a fleet-wide issue or just a single airplane issue," Skermer said, reiterating that he does not speak for the RCAF.
“It could take three days, three weeks, or three months depending on when they get the jet out of the mud and put it together and take a look at what’s going on.”
Although the airshow at Villeneuve Airport could have continued as a smaller show without the Snowbirds, Skermer said the organizing team wanted to "do it right or don't do it at all."
Another concern was the career fair set to take place at this year's show. The fair was set to focus on aerospace and logistics businesses looking for potential employees in Alberta.
"The career fair is one of the [reasons] why we decided to postpone," Skermer said. "The career fair needs a lot of people to go through it to make it worthwhile.
"We had some pretty large vendors coming in for that career fair so they would want large crowds, and if you can’t bring the crowds, the career fair suddenly doesn’t look good.
"This [event] is meant to use an airshow as an [attraction] for everybody to come and talk about the business opportunities in Alberta and beyond. There’s an entertainment piece to it, but really it’s more a logistics, transportation, manufacturing, and STEM conversation that has aviation as the entertainment.”
Ticket holders will be automatically refunded and do not need to contact organizers to receive their refunds, Skermer said.