The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform in front of Boardwalk Hall during the 2012 Atlantic City Airshow.

Staff photo by Ben Fogletto, Aug. 17

Atlantic City Airshow organizers expect to know by December whether the resort's airshow will once again have a military jet team in its lineup. For a decade, the airshow has featured either the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds or the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Scheduling conflicts last year had left the show without either team, and federal budget cuts later grounded the acts all together.

Greater Atlantic City Chamber President Joe Kelly said Atlantic City has applications in with both teams for appearances this year. He expects to find out during the International Council of Air Shows conference in December, he said.

"We're hoping for good news," Kelly said. "That request is in, and we'll look for the best."

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The Navy announced last week that it will allow its demonstration team to fly a full schedule of air shows in the next fiscal year. The Blue Angels, however, haven't made Atlantic City a stop on their schedule since 2007.

"As you know, the effects of sequestration impacted our ability to reach Americans outside of fleet concentration areas and limited their opportunity to see and connect with the Navy," Rear Adm. John Kirby wrote in a post on the Navy's official blog. "Moving forward, we will be able to provide Americans around our nation with special events to explain and show what their Navy does. These events include full schedules for Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron."

It's not yet clear whether the Thunderbirds, which have regularly performed in Atlantic City, will be returning to an airshow schedule.

Organizers have toyed with changing the day and month of the airshow in recent years. The show has been used to boost mid-week business in the summer. Two years ago, organizations moved the show to a Friday, rather than its traditional mid-week date in August.

Then last year, organized planned for a return to mid-week but moved up the show to June in an effort to jumpstart the summer tourism season following Hurricane Sandy.

Organizers have suggested August may be the best time for the show, but Kelly said he couldn't yet speak to any decisions on the date for the 2014 show.

Without any military acts, the 2013 show in June drew an estimated 400,000 people, a steep decline from the 908,000 crowd estimate from 2012.

An economic impact report on the show has suggested the total crowd count isn't nearly as important as the number of out-of-town residents who come to Atlantic City for the show and spend money on food, drinks and hotel rooms.

Contact Jennifer Bogdan:


@ACPressJennifer on Twitter

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