Plans begin to set for International Air Show

(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – As the International Air Show gets closer to flying the skies over Westfield this August, promoters and city officials have begun to provide updates on the event.

The International Air Show, which takes place Aug. 12 and 13 at Barnes Regional Airport, has most of its performers lined up for the event. In addition, plans for traffic and parking have begun to be solidified, with emphasis being focused on reducing the mistakes that occurred during the last International Air Show at Barnes in 2011.

“We’re trying everything we can to alleviate the problem and make traffic run smoother,” Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan said. “Everyone knows the nightmare 2011 was.”

One potential issue could be the construction on the Mass Pike/I-90 entrance to Westfield. However, according to Sullivan, the construction is expected to be done by July, and if it isn’t done it will be halted to allow for improved traffic flow.

“They knew going in that this was happening,” Sullivan said about the construction efforts.

Another focus will be on earlier parking with improved flow to lots.

According to Amber Danahey, community outreach coordinator for Westfield, parking lots will be opened at 6:30 a.m. on the days of performance, and people will be able to also reserve parking ahead of time through the International Air Show’s website.

Entrance into the event however, will begin at 8 a.m.

Additionally, Danahey said that organizers will be provided with updates from a Massachusetts State Police helicopter to help improve flow and reduce congestion. These updates are also anticipated to be given to the public, though the exact method is uncertain at this time.

Also assisting with strategies for parking and travel will be Eric Billowitz, airport manager for Barnes. Billowitz has previously helped organize parking for a national event for several years—The Kentucky Derby.

“My experience has been with the Kentucky Derby event as it affects the airport in Louisville, and certainly from a parking organizing perspective I will pull from those experiences,” he said.

Regarding performers, Eric Armentrout, F-15 pilot, base director of operations at 131st fighter squadron at Barnes and International Air Show director, said that several interesting acts are signed up, including the Thunderbirds and a wing walker called Third Strike Windwalking.

Other performers include Red Bull Air Race World Series competitor and aerobatic aviator Mike Goulian, Trojan Horsemen flight group, Geico Sky Typers and parachute teams.

For more information, including how to reserve parking, visit westfieldairshow.org.