Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Deep budget cuts in Washington are grounding the military’s Blue Angels and Thunderbirds.
Gigi Barnett explains business owners say the canceled shows will take thousands of visitors and thousands of dollars with them.
The Navy’s Blue Angels’ wings are clipped. The flight daredevils haven’t been able to dodge deep federal budget cuts. The military is grounding the Blue Angels. It’s a flight that draws thousands time and again.
“I greatly enjoy it. I go to three or four shows a year,” said Steve Zulich.
The Navy says canceling a majority of shows would save the branch about $28 million.
In Annapolis, fans expect the traditional Blue Angels flyover every year for the Naval Academy’s Graduation Day. But this year, the Angels may be absent.
Jami Curtis runs the Severn Inn, a restaurant directly across the river from the Academy. It has a clear view of the show and attracts many fans. If the Blue Angels don’t come, Curtis says some customers may not, either.
“It’s a huge event day for us, as well. It will be truly missed,” she said.
The Navy says it is reviewing the entire Blue Angels schedule. So far, it’s canceled four shows in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. Meanwhile, the Air Force Thunderbirds say its entire 2013 season is canceled.
The Air Force says all Thunderbird trade shows, flyovers and open houses are also canceled.