SEYMOUR JOHNSON AFB — Air Force officials said Friday that they have canceled the 2013 Wings Over Wayne Open House and Air Show at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base because of the threat of federal budget cuts.
Wings Over Wayne, which started in 1957, had been scheduled for May 18-19. No dates for future Seymour Johnson air shows have been set.
"Our decision to cease planning for the 2013 air show comes after careful review and consideration of the fiscal challenges the Air Force, the Department of Defense and our nation face," Col. Jeannie Leavitt, 4th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement.
Although the savings are low, canceling the air show enables the 4th Fighter Wing to reallocate resources to combat-readiness training, Leavitt said.
"We're taking prudent measures and doing our best to mitigate our budget risks and align available resources with current and emerging operational requirements," she said. "Remaining as mission-ready as possible and preserving our combat capability is our imperative, and we're prioritizing spending to ensure this priority is met."
She said the decision to cancel was difficult, and she thanked the Goldsboro and Wayne County communities for their continued support "during these trying fiscal times."
Carlos Herrera, who owns Los Fogones, a Peruvian restaurant in Goldsboro, said the cancellation will hurt his business.
"The air show creates business for the area," he said. "It brings more people from other cities and everybody can (get to) know Goldsboro, and they can sample my restaurant."
Herrera estimated that the air show increases his profits by 200 percent. He said he hopes to see it back on the calendar in 2015.
"I'm feeling so bad," he said. "I'm feeling sad (that it's canceled)."
Langley Air Force Base in southeastern Virginia likewise canceled its 2013 Air Power Over Hampton Roads Open House and Air Show in May.