The commanding officer of the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station said Thursday he was disappointed that the federal government shutdown had forced the base to cancel its popular air show this weekend.
“Personally, I’m disappointed, but professionally we’re going to press on and do the right thing,” Marine Col. John P. Farnam said at a news conference.
The air show planned for this weekend had already been pared back from three days to two after the federal sequestration cuts went into effect. Also because of the sequester, no military planes were to fly in the two-day show.
But after the government shutdown began Tuesday, it became clear that the air show -- which draws hundreds of thousands of people -- would have to be totally scrapped, Farnam said.
“From the bottom of my heart I apologize to San Diego for having to stand here today and make this statement, but as events have unfolded, it just is the way that it is,” he said.
The event is mostly free, but those who purchased special-access tickets will get refunds, he said.
The cancellation is a blow to a community that had rallied to keep the air show intact in some form after sequestration forced the event to be scaled back.
“It was overwhelming the last couple of months to see the city come together the way they have, I mean, truly something they should be proud of and unlike anything I’ve seen in my career,” Farnam said.
Military officials had insisted that the Miramar show would continue with civilian planes and pilots and with “static displays” on the ground of Marine fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. Marines would also be at ready to explain the craft to air show visitors.
“We’ll work through this,” Farnam said. "I cannot thank the community enough for their support.”