Flights to Go Dark at SJC During Fourth of July Fireworks Show Downtown

The airport in San Jose is going dark Wednesday night so the city can light up the sky for the Fourth of July.

Mineta San Jose International Airport says it has suspended all arrivals and departures between 9:30 and 10 p.m. to allow for the Rotary Fireworks show at Discovery Meadow Park, near the Children's Discovery Museum, in downtown San Jose.

Airport spokewoman Rosemary Barnes said the airport has always been involved with coordinating with the fireworks show, but it will be the first time SJC shuts down the runways for the celebration.

Rotary Club member Carlos Leet said he doesn't believe it's a huge inconvenience for a once-a-year event.

"We’re trying to make a safe space for everybody to enjoy fireworks on the 4th of July," he said. "Trying to get the kids to come to the show instead of setting off their own at home."

Leet said the FAA wanted the city to move the fireworks show to another location because the pyrotechnics pose a safety issue to aircraft, as they explode directly in the flight path.

Mayor Sam Liccardo, along with airport officials and fireworks organizers have been working together for the past two months on a coordinated plan that would best suit both flight safety and Fourth of July revelers, Barnes said. It was decided flights would be halted for 30 minutes to allow the fireworks show to happen.

The airport notified all airlines and private pilots six weeks ago so they would be able to plan accordingly with flight times, Barnes said, adding that the city and airport wanted to do so for the safety of flights and for people to enjoy the fireworks in celebration of the nation’s 242nd birthday.

The city and the airport will not lose any money during the stoppage, Barnes said.

Individual airlines will make adjustments in their schedules to accommodate the change, and travelers should check with airlines to get accurate flight times.

Barnes was not certain if any other airports around the country are making similar plans, but it appears the temporary shutdown for fireworks is unprecedented.

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