Federal sequestration could eliminate Rockford Airfest - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Federal sequestration could eliminate Rockford Airfest

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RFD Marketing Manager Geoff Oman RFD Marketing Manager Geoff Oman

Lawmakers actually moved part the fiscal cliff a few months down the road, across the board federal spending cuts that are scheduled to go into effect March 1st. That deadline is almost here.

If our nation's leaders can't come up with a spending plan deal you'll see the effects in Rockford this summer. It'll be in the skies, not by something being there, but rather something missing. That's because billions of dollars in military cuts are on the line.

"Their budget cuts would include any non-essential military operations, so anything that's outside of their immediate mission." -says Chicago Rockford International Airport Marketing Manager Geoff Oman.

If lawmakers blow past the March 1st deadline you might say goodbye to your favorite Rockford Airfest headliners.

"We're talking the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds, any of the demonstration teams. We're talking any of the static display aircraft that would normally come out here." -says Oman.

Not only will Rockford lose talent, but it could lose Airfest dollars.

"It's definitely in the millions. We bring hundreds of thousands of people out here, we bring hotel room nights, people eating in the restaurants, it goes far beyond just the people showing up at the show." -Oman explains.

Right now RFD is playing the waiting game and carrying on business as usual.

"We are going to continue to operate as if we have a show to run." -he says.

But, employees have come to terms with potential reality.

"It's possible that if this sequestration happens, that Rockford will not have Airfest this summer." -Oman adds.

Others affected if Airfest is grounded, vendors who travel to each show. Their summer revenue might be gone for good in Rockford. We're a week away from that March 1st deadline and there are no significant, meaningful efforts made by lawmakers to avoid this. 

Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, employees work at RFD, but not for RFD.  Since TSA is a government-run agency, spending cuts might affect the company, and the airport could lose some security workers.

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