Budget dogfight imperils Blue Angels, Fleet Week

Uncover your ears, San Francisco. The City’s annual Fleet Week event — exhilarating to some and a nuisance to others — could be getting the axe this year.

As the nation awaits to see if President Obama and Congress can avoid sequestration, the Navy has started rejiggering its budget for the worst.

In an internal memo released late last month, the Navy said it plans to slash funding for the Blue Angels — the nation’s oldest aerobatic flying team — if President Obama and Congress can’t reach a budget compromise by the March 1 deadline.

The budget cut would mean grounding the fleet during its 30 scheduled shows for the second half of 2013, which includes their annual October performance over our fair city.

Christine Falvey, spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee, told SFGate that Fleet Week’s Parade of Ships could also be in jeopardy.

The Navy’s decision to ground the Blue Angels would save $20 million, at the expense of one of its top recruiting tools. And without Fleet Week, which attracted more than a million people to San Francisco last October, Falvey says The City can expect a major economic loss.