St. Hubert air-show pilot project proves a soaring success

Date: September 15, 1988
Location: Montreal, Canada
By: Mike King
Newspaper: The Gazette
Page: G-1

St. Hubert has landed the honor of being the annual host site of the Montreal International Air Show as a result of successfully staging the event for the first time last week.

Wings of Hope, organizers of the event for the past four years, moved the show to the South Shore this year after management at Mirabel airport couldn’t guarantee dates and times.

‘It went great’

Pierre Theroux, Wings of Hope president, said in an interview that Mirabel and St. Hubert are the only two airports in the province capable of accommodating the air show.

Although attendance at Expo Air 88 – the name given to the 10th annual Montreal International Air Show by Wings of Hope – was down considerably from the record set last year, the show was still deemed successful.

“It went great!” said show director Francois Chenier. “It was a success its first time on the South Shore.”

Chenier, who is also Wings of Hope vice-president, said St. Hubert was “unknown territory for us.”

“We had to start from scratch and make ourselves known,” he said.

It is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 spectators gathered on or around the air show site Saturday and Sunday to watch aerobatic displays by such crowd favorites as the Canadian Forces’ precision flying team, the Snowbirds.

There were also numerous ground displays of aircraft.

Wings of Hope volunteers are still counting gate receipts but Chenier expects the event raised as much as $200,000 before expenses.

All profits will go to Wings of Hope, which flies supply and rescue missions in western South America.

St. Hubert Mayor Guy Desgroseilliers has invited Wings of Hope to return next year to stage the 11th annual Montreal International Air Show.

“We would be proud to have them back,” Desgroseilliers said yesterday.

The mayor agreed with Chenier that at least $400,000 worth of economic activity was generated in St. Hubert by the two-day air show.

“It makes our town known and we want them (Wings of Hope) to return next year,” Desgroseilliers added.

“They want us in St. Hubert; we’ll be there,” Chenier said.

To raise funds

He said work has already begun on Expo Air 89 with plans to double the number of planes.

“We can get 50 planes on that tarmac,” Chenier said.

Wings of Hope took over operations of the international air show from Transport Canada in 1985 when the event became the non-profit organization’s main fundraiser.

Last year, the Mirable show finished a close second to Abbotsford, B.C., in attendance.

The British Columbia air show is Canada’s largest.

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