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Palmer airport officials waiting in the wings

Officials are waiting to learn which military
aviation team will be available to headline next year’s air show at
Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Latrobe.

The air show in June drew about 75,000
spectators, thanks in part to the Navy’s Blue Angels — a top-notch draw
featuring six F/A-18 Hornets that flew intricate maneuvers at 600 mph
over the airport.
The Westmoreland County Airport Authority
builds the air show around a military aviation team, such as the Blue
Angels, the Air Force’s

Thunderbirds, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s
Canadian Snowbirds or the private Breitling Jet Team. Its bid was made
in August 2014 for one of the acts to appear at the next show.

The date of the air show won’t be set until
the authority knows which group will be performing — something it
expects to find out Dec. 8 at the International Council of Air Shows
convention in Las Vegas, Executive Director Gabe Monzo said.
“They dictate to us what date we are going to use,” he said.
After getting one of the military aviation
teams on board, Monzo said he wants to land five other aerial acts for
the show. He said he will go to the convention with a $300,000 budget to
spend on acts.
In other business at the authority’s meeting
Tuesday, PNC Capital Markets of Pittsburgh was given the authority to
proceed with the process of refinancing about $3.7 million of debt at a
lower interest rate. The authority borrowed the money at an interest
rate of nearly 4 percent. Interest rates now are from 2.5 to 2.7
percent, said Michael Zubasic, managing director for PNC Capital
The move could save the authority nearly
$140,000 — or about $15,000 to $17,000 a year until the debt is paid off
in 2023, Zubasic said. The authority could take the savings up front or
spread it out over the life of the loan.
Refinancing will take up to six weeks to
complete and will need approval from the authority and Westmoreland
County, which guaranteed the loan, Zubasic said.
Savings from the refinancing probably would be used for state or federal projects that require matching funds, Monzo said.