Wednesday, August 1, 2012

AirVenture attendance drops

Press release today by EAA. The attendance, the PR-focus to the contrary, has to be very disconcerting for the EAA. It shows a continuing decline. In 2008, for example, the attendance was 540,000. The 2010 attendance was down 7 percent at 535,000. And that was Sloshkosh, when nobody wanted to be there. 541,000 showed up in 2011

This year? 508,000, that's about a 6-percent drop.

We can quibble about the reasons for this but it's undeniable that AirVenture is not growing and hasn't been for some time. The numbers are pretty stagnant.

Anyway, here's the release:

Attendance: 508,000

Comment from Hightower: “We are pleased that attendance has topped one-half million again. That is a tremendous total considering the intensely hot weather, storms, and struggles in the overall economy. The aviation community knows that Oshkosh is the place to be to find out what’s new, and actually buy new equipment, components, and aircraft.”

Total aircraft: More than 10,000 aircraft arriving at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin.

Total showplanes: 2,489 including 978 homebuilt aircraft, 907 vintage airplanes, 336 warbirds, 105 ultralights, 97 seaplanes, 35 aerobatic aircraft and 31 rotorcraft.

Commercial exhibitors: 802

International visitors registered: 2,078 visitors registered from 71 nations, with Canada (479 visitors), Australia (286), and Brazil (216) the top three nations. (NOTE: This total includes only non-U.S. visitors who register at the International Visitors Tent, so the actual international contingent is undoubtedly larger.)

Media: 897 media representatives on-site, from five continents.


  1. The fact that attendance is tracked closely and excuses made for the decline is revealing itself. If a show/event is simply for the enjoyment of the participants, attendance numbers year-to-year don't matter. But AirVenture long ago became a commercial operation with all the attendant financial concerns. Hightower is a professional BSer like so many of his kind.

  2. I don't begrudge anybody to make a buck. As long as America still works by exchanging money for services, I don't really understand how that's a bad thing.

    I get the whole "EAA is too commercial" thing, but I just spent 9 days there and I had a great time. I didn't give a damn about the stuff that I don't give a damn about, and I had no problem finding the things I do give a damn about.

    I'm not going to fret because it's not Rockford 1968 anymore.

    The EAA is still 1000 times better than AOPA.