Super Bowl draws huge number of private jets to Phoenix
The high demand for Super Bowl 57 flights to Arizona isn’t just coming from commercial airlines.
Celebrities, corporate VIPs and other fans are flying on private planes into metro Phoenix airports this week in the leadup to the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.
Collectively, metro Phoenix airports can expect to see over 4,000 more take-offs and landings than usual, plus about 1,100 more planes parked at airports during Super Bowl week, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Because of this spike in private-plane traffic, local airports and fixed-based operators (FBOs) that handle private jets must work around the Federal Aviation Administration’s special Super Bowl procedures, such as requirements for private pilots to reserve their takeoff and landing times and the agency’s temporary flight restrictions before, during and after the game.
Here’s what to know about all the private flights arriving in metro Phoenix this week.
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How many private planes are coming to the Phoenix airport?
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport expects 1,000 more takeoffs and landings than usual during Super Bowl week, airport spokeswoman Heather Shelbrack told the Associated Press. When The Arizona Republic asked airport staff for specific numbers on the number of private jets expected, they deferred questions to the FBOs, who could not immediately be reached for comment.
Sky Harbor Airport has two FBOs, Cutter Aviation and Jackson Jet Center. In a typical week, they average 35 to 40 daily takeoffs and landings on weekdays and 25 to 30 daily takeoffs and landings on weekends, airport spokeswoman Tamra Ingersoll said.
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How many private planes are coming to Scottsdale Airport?
Demand from private planes at Scottsdale Airport is high this week not only for the Super Bowl, but also the WM Phoenix Open. TPC Scottsdale, where the golf tournament is held, is 2.2 miles from the airport.
The airport expects to have about 33 departure slots and three arrival slots per hour from 5 p.m. Feb. 12 to the early evening on Feb. 13, said Gary P. Mascaro, the airport’s aviation director. That’s about double the arrivals and departures on a typical day in the winter season.
As of Feb. 3, Scottsdale Airport had more than 450 reservations for Feb. 12 and 13, “with many more reservations” for Super Bowl week, Mascaro said.
He expects Feb. 13 will be Scottsdale Airport’s busiest day ever, surpassing Feb. 2, 2015, the day after the last Super Bowl played in Arizona, which had 1,189 takeoffs and landings.
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How many private planes are coming to Glendale Municipal Airport?
Glendale Municipal Airport, the closest airport to State Farm Stadium, expects a total of 300 to 400 takeoffs and landings from Feb. 9-13.
As of Feb. 3, the general aviation airport had 100 reservations from private pilots, airport administrator Matt Smith said.
“We’ve been receiving reservations for over a month,” he said. “It started as a slow trickle and once the two teams were determined, the reservations have been coming in very quickly. The number of calls to the airport has increased drastically and we point them to the businesses at the airport that will serve them.”
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How private planes get landing, takeoff slots for the Super Bowl
The FAA requires private pilots to file their flight plans at least four hours prior to departure during Super Bowl week. And it requires reservations to fly a private plane into and out of metro Phoenix airports from Feb. 9 to Feb. 13.
These measures help airport and FBO staff make plans to handle the increased traffic and manage the airspace for safety.
“Most visitors want to depart after the game, and so Monday morning is a very popular and desirable time to leave,” Mascaro said. “Having a reservation system for aircraft operations is important to manage the influx of traffic during this time and allows everyone to plan and coordinate the flow of aircraft effectively, reducing congestion and minimizing any delays.”
Staff at the Scottsdale and Glendale airports said they received calls for reservations weeks ahead of the game. In Scottsdale, reservations came in earlier than they did in the lead-up to the 2015 Super Bowl, Mascaro said.
Glendale noticed reservations coming in at a faster pace after the two teams were determined, Smith said.
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Reach the reporter at Michael.Salerno@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @salerno_phx.
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