Losses up, attendance down for Virginia Air and Space Center

December 14, 2011 – 2:36 pm

The Daily Press writes:

The troubled Virginia Air and Space Center in downtown Hampton has been racking up losses for the last four years and its deficit has now reached more than $3 million, according to auditors reports.

Those financial reports highlight the scale of the challenge ahead for Brian DeProfio, interim director at the center, and for the Foundation of the Virginia Air and Space Center, the private nonprofit company that runs it.

The tipping point might come this month when the facility is scheduled to pay an outstanding $2.1 million loan to SunTrust bank, according to a September 2011 audit.

. . .

Compounding the financial issues at the center is the fact that its visitor numbers are down. They dropped below 400,000 for the first time in 11 years in 2010-11, according to figures supplied by DeProfio.

Attendance was stable in 2009 at 401,125. The next year, 402,169 people visited the museum. However, the numbers dipped to 344,775 this year “as a result of our economy and competition in the market…” DeProfio said in an email.

Some of the dip is being blamed on the fact that another IMAX theater opened in Hampton at the Towne Center, and the museum’s own IMAX theater was closed to upgrade it to digital.

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