VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - COVID-19 has derailed the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show once again.
Friday, the Navy announced the air show has been canceled due to high community transmission of the coronavirus.
Naval installations in Hampton Roads are currently in Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Level Bravo (plus), which means there’s a daily average of 16 to 30 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days.
Local installations were in HPCON Alpha when it was announced in July that the air show would resume. In HPCON Alpha, the daily average of new coronavirus cases must be less than two new cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days.
Since that time, the Navy says local cases have spiked significantly and current trends indicate a resurgence with the Delta variant peak occurring the week prior to the air show.
As a result, base officials determined the air show cannot go on this year.
“I know this is disappointing to everyone who looks forward to coming onto base, seeing our high-performance aircraft, and meeting the men and women of naval aviation who call Oceana home,” said Capt. Bob Holmes, Naval Air Station Oceana’s commanding officer. “But this is the right thing to do to ensure the health and safety of our force and safeguard the Navy’s mission readiness.”
The NAS Oceana Air Show is the Navy’s largest community outreach event in Hampton Roads, and it has been held nearly every year since 1953. It typically attracts more than 250,000 spectators during the two-day show, which was scheduled to include performances by the Blue Angels this year.
“With a quarter of a million spectators who love to cheer on the Navy, it wasn’t practical to let the show go on as the pandemic undergoes a resurgence,” Holmes said. “Safety must always be our top priority.”
After the in-person show was canceled last year, a first-of-its-kind live broadcast air show was held instead. However, the Navy says there will not be a similar broadcast this year.