International Council of Air Shows

ICAS Moves Forward with Innovative Virtual Convention

September 21st, 2020

By John Cudahy, President, ICAS


Recognizing that the current environment will not allow us to produce our traditional in-person convention, ICAS has developed an innovative virtual convention to keep the North American air show industry moving forward.   


After several months of planning and preparing for a hybrid convention in December, ICAS has been forced to acknowledge the reality of the pandemic restrictions currently in place in Nevada. Right now, the state is stuck at Phase Two, which prohibits Las Vegas hotels from hosting meetings of more than 50 people. We had hoped that that situation might change in time for our annual gathering. Unfortunately, the immediacy of the calendar, together with the pandemic situation in Las Vegas, has eliminated all options for our live convention.


But the 2020 ICAS Convention remains the most critical ICAS Convention in at least a generation. After a year with almost no air shows, our fans and spectators will be anxious to know what the future will bring to the air show business in just a few months. And they will expect us to be ready to welcome them back to our events safely. The virtual convention that ICAS is planning will provide members with the tools they need to meet those challenges.


This year’s ICAS Convention experience will continue to present the vital information our members expect, from introductory workshops and military forums to keynote speakers and interaction between buyers and sellers.


It will also provide the entire air show community with a chance to share information, compare notes, and anticipate and discuss the challenges of running an air show business in a post-pandemic world. We will hear from event organizers who were able to hold their events in 2020. We will hear from event organizers who scheduled and planned air shows in 2020 that they then had to cancel. Public health experts and sponsorship specialists will join us. The military will share their plans with us.  And we will provide you with the information and insights you and your organization need to be ready for the 2021 air show season.


We did not arrive at this decision to switch to an all-virtual convention format lightly. We have studied the public health situation in Las Vegas for weeks. We have talked with our host hotel on a weekly basis. We have researched the possibility of moving the convention to other locations. But, ultimately, we recognized that we were out of both time and options.


And we are excited about the prospects for our internet-based convention. We will offer things that we could not possibly offer if we had gathered together in Las Vegas. We will have keynote presenters and subject matter experts from outside the air show community who would not typically join us in Vegas. And the virtual format will also allow informal discussion sessions that would have been impossible in Las Vegas, given our space limitations at the hotel.


Although we won’t be gathering in Las Vegas during the first full week of December this year, the ICAS Convention will still go on.  We urge you to keep those dates on your calendar committed to the convention. And we’ll be in touch within the next couple of weeks with details on the robust, focused, interactive program that we are planning, as well as pricing and refund policy information.