Moses Lake Airshow set for another year

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Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald Airshow attendees gather as two Oregon Air National Guard F-15 fighter jets prepare to leave Moses Lake on Friday afternoon.

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake Airshow looks set to break even this year, and everything is in place for the show to return next year.

Terry Quick, president of Entco International, the event company that organized the airshow, told Port of Moses Lake commissioners Monday morning that ticket sales and interest from local sponsors was “better than expected.”

“We hit our numbers solidly,” he said.

Quick said that just under 5,100 paying customers attended the two-day airshow, held out of the Grant County International Airport (GCIA) on June 14 and 15, with gross receipts from tickets, VIP seating and the airshow’s cut of beer and wine sales currently amounting to around $63,000.

About 20 percent of paying customers came to Moses Lake from more than 100 miles away,

The airshow likely does not need additional funding from the Port of Moses Lake to maintain and update their web page and social media sites, which is important to keep momentum going for next year’s airshow.

“There may or may not be a small profit, but everything is in place for next year,” Quick said. “We can put more of that money (used this year for start-up costs) for (aerial) acts.”

The Port of Moses Lake initially budgeted around $60,000 for the air show – $30,000 of which came from the city of Moses Lake’s hotel/motel tax – but commissioners approved an additional $23,000 at Monday’s meeting and in May to cover insurance, ambulance and fire services, as well as the cost of transporting some borrowed equipment back to North Dakota.

Quick also said several major companies with a local presence — Boeing, Mitsubishi and custom aircraft builder Greenpoint Technologies — that were not very involved in this year’s show said “they wanted to become more involved” in next year’s air show.

Commissioner Darrin Jackson said he recently had a conversation with several potential new sponsors, including Aircraft Spruce, a major manufacturer and retailer of aircraft parts and equipment, which is considering shifting some of its support from the Arlington Airshow to Moses Lake.

The only complaints were regarding the cost – air shows sponsored by the military are free – and the inability to get some of the military planes that organizers had invited.

“The comments were all positive, but two or three people were disappointed that the military aircraft were not there,” Quick said. “That’s the nature of the beast with the military.”

Port commissioners also approved a one-year agreement to lease Boeing around 10 acres of “ramp space” — paved area to park aircraft. Boeing owns a hangar at the GCIA and a great deal of paved storage space, and has begun parking 737 MAX airplanes in Moses Lake as the company works on a solution to a software problem linked to two fatal crashes.

Finally, commissioners also conditionally accepted a $20 million bid from Granite Construction to flatten out a hump in the airport’s main, 13,000-foot runway that makes it impossible for aircraft at either end of the runway to see each other.

The FAA, which is paying for the work, has demanded the hump be removed to bring the GCIA into compliance with federal airport regulations.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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