HUNTINGTON BEACH – With the Huntington Beach Breitling Air Show on the horizon and approaching at Mach speed, the City Council decided to provide about $100,000 to keep the popular but cash-challenged event in the air.
The council on Tuesday, Sept. 5, unanimously supported recommendations to increase parking fees and allow a 45-day grace period for certain payments to the city to ensure the air show makes a return performance. The vote was 4-0-3, with Councilman Billy O’Connell recusing himself and Councilmen Mike Posey and Erik Peterson absent.
By increasing regular parking rates and opening space for recreational vehicles, the city estimates it will make about $100,000 in revenue for the weekend above its usual income. That extra revenue will be given to the air show promoter to offset city costs.
One large concession requested by the organizers was not granted. The city had been asked to agree to a 50 percent cap on its billing for safety and public works, which is estimated at more than $209,000 for the three-day event. Those costs will be paid by the promoter.
Despite only getting some of what his company had asked for, Mike McCabe, director of air shows for Air Support, was happy.
“We’re very pleased the city has stepped forward,” he said. “I think we’re satisfied.”
The air show is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1, with practice on Friday, Sept. 29.
Last year, Air Support, the company that puts on the event, claimed it lost $395,000 and projected losses of $350,000 without help from the city. Organizers say they fell short in sponsorship, food, beverage and projected…