Private jet surge at Arizona airports for Super Bowl XLIX

National Football League

The 1st February 2015 will see the final of Super Bowl XLIX take place – always the busiest weekend in the global private jet calendar. This year’s venue is University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona and airports in the region have spent months preparing for the surge in private jet demand.

At PrivateFly, we’ve already been receiving many enquiries for flights to this year’s Super Bowl, from our clients based in the US, Canada and further afield. (See prices for private jet charter to Super Bowl 2015 here).

As usual for major events, special conditions will be in place for private jet arrivals and departures. Around 1,200 additional private aircraft are expected to arrive in the Phoenix area over the Super Bowl weekend. The FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) has been working closely with the airports and FBOs which will see the major uplift in activity. Phoenix played host for the final in 2008, so the local authorities have a good idea of what to expect.

Which private jet airports are closest to the Super Bowl Final venue?

The closest private jet airports to the Super Bowl final at University of Phoenix Stadium are: Phoenix Sky Harbor, Scottsdale, Phoenix Deer Valley, Phoenix Goodyear, Glendale Municipal, Phoenix Mesa Gateway, and Chandler Municipal airport officials.

What special conditions will be in place at private jet airports?

Whereas most private jet airports usually give ultimate flexibility for take-off and landing times to private jets – setting your own schedule is all part of the service with private aviation – the increased volumes around major events like the Super Bowl mean a more structured plan is required. So the FBOs at most of these airports are working to what’s known as PRP procedures (Prior Permission Required) – often referred to as ‘slots’.

A slots system smooths out peaks of traffic into a manageable flow – for both the FBOs and air traffic control. Aircraft parking restrictions will also be in place, with some airports only allowing passengers to be dropped off – the aircraft must then be relocated elsewhere before positioning in again for the return journey.

The FAA have also announced an operational airspace plan for the Super Bowl, with dedicated northbound departure routes out of Scottsdale and Deer Valley to expedite traffic from both airports. Officials have assessed the expected arrival and departure rates for all Phoenix area airports to ensure the control towers, approach controls and en route centers will be able to handle the volume.

Of course this means that not all private jet customers will get the flexibility they desire, and some airports may close altogether once they reach maximum capacity. So while private jet travel usually can be arranged at very short notice, it’s best to book ahead around these types of events and to expect less flexibility than usual. Arrival times aren’t usually too much of a problem, as demand is naturally more staggered. Departures are more restricted – as many private customers will want to leave soon after the game.

Only two airports in the area, Sky Harbor and Mesa-Phoenix Gateway, handle airline flights. The remainder are available for private aircraft only. Here’s a brief look at how each are preparing for the big day:

SCOTTSDALE AIRPORT

Scottsdale Airport (image from jetsetmag.com)

The Scottsdale Airport, like the other Valley airports, has worked with the FAA, Super Bowl Transportation Committee and local, state and federal agencies to create a respective airport operations plan for the big game. The plan can be found on the airport’s website, with full information on what visitors need to know when flying in for the Super Bowl.

For Super Bowl weekend in 2008, Scottsdale Airport experienced about a 54% increase in airport operations compared with that weekend the year before. The airport is planning for a similar increase in operations for this year’s game.

PHOENIX DEER VALLEY AIRPORT

Phoenix Deer Valley airport is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the USA and has two FBOs to handle private jet flights, Cutter and Atlantic, which provide fueling, ground service, rental car and ground transportations, plus other additional services.

In 2008, Phoenix Deer Valley Airport hosted approximately 200 additional aircraft which flew in for the event and parked overnight. Additional aircraft flew in and dropped off passengers, then picked them up after the game. Deer Valley can accommodate more than 200 additional aircraft, with the exact number depending on the size of the aircraft.

Goodyear Airport

GOODYEAR AIRPORT

Like all the other airports, Goodyear is making significant procedural preparations for the event. Staff at the airport and FBO Lux Air, are working closely with the FAA to maximize the available space for accommodating additional aircraft.

Goodyear can handle 140-150 additional aircraft for the event. During the last Super Bowl, Goodyear accommodated about 100 extra private aircraft.

GLENDALE MUNICIPAL AIRPORT

The runway at Glendale Municipal was recently repaved as part of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s pavement preservation program – not specifically for the Super Bowl. But additional parking has also been built on the south side of the airport for Super Bowl visitors.

Glendale expect to operate at capacity over Super Bowl weekend, which is handling 100 jets at a time.

MESA FALCON FIELD AIRPORT

Mesa Falcon Field Airport

Mesa Falcon Field Airport completed an improvement program in October 2014, including installation of runway lights, runway-pavement rehabilitation and an expanded FBO.

Unlike the others, Mesa Falcon Field  is not requiring private aircraft to make a PRP slot reservation, so this airport may well see an increase in aircraft from those travelling at short notice. The airport’s new facilities, plus its two runways and two helicopter pads, make it well-placed to handle extra flights.

CHANDLER MUNICIPAL AIRPORT

Chandler Municipal Airport has completed more than $2.5 million in improvements in the past three years, though not related to the Super Bowl. They upgraded the terminal-building furniture, installed free wireless internet, made runway improvements, completed a new auto parking lot and rehabilitated an aircraft apron.

As the airport furthest from the stadium, it is the least likely to see big demand increases from private jets for the Super Bowl.

See prices and further information for private jet charter to Super Bowl 2015 here. For advice or a personalised quote, contact us or call our Flight Team team (24/7) on +44 1747 642 777.