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ICAS Convention Unofficially Launches 2009 Air Show Season

December 18th, 2008
Although the results won't be apparent for several more weeks, the 2009 North American air show season got off to a spectacularly successful start last week as nearly 1,500 air show professionals gathered in Las Vegas for the annual convention of the International Council of Air Shows. Widely recognized to be both the end of one air show season and the beginning of the next, the ICAS Convention has served as an industry planning and business meeting for 42 years. Event organizers, performers and support service providers gather each year during the first full week of December to make plans, sign contracts, learn from one another, and begin the process of piecing together more than 300 air shows throughout the United States and Canada. Despite a struggling economy, the tone of this year's convention was upbeat with most shows reporting that their attendance figures did not suffer during the 2008 season and that they expect strong crowds for their 2009 events, as well. "Air shows are always an inexpensive, family-oriented entertainment opportunity," says ICAS President John Cudahy. "And history has demonstrated that they are particularly popular during economic hard times. Many air shows set attendance records in 2008 and we expect similar trends for 2009." The 2008 ICAS Convention got off to a particularly successful start on Tuesday, December 9, when the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Canadian Forces Snowbirds released details on their 2009 performance schedules. Collectively, the three North American military jet teams will perform nearly 300 times in 100 different locations between March and November of 2009.