Arizona airports game day preparations for Super Bowl 2015

National Football League

Are you ready for some football? February 1st marks the arrival of one of the biggest sporting events of the year: the Super Bowl. And while teams are making game plans to make it to the final match, so are Arizona’s airports as they prepare for a major surge in private flights to the area, ensuring that weekend will be one of the busiest ever.

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

Taking place at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, airport officials have been planning for the influx of private jets to the area since last year’s game. It’s expected that about 1,200 additional private aircraft, which along with commercial flights and charters, are likely to bring an additional 100,000 people to the Phoenix area for the game.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the agency has held multiple meetings with Phoenix Sky Harbor, Scottsdale, Phoenix Deer Valley, Phoenix Goodyear, Glendale Municipal, Phoenix Mesa Gateway, and Chandler Municipal airport officials and fixed base operators, who handle flights at each field.

The FBOs are establishing procedures, known as Prior Permission Required (or PPR) to manage the arrival and departure demands for the Super Bowl. PPR is a reservations system designed to smooth out large spikes of general, or private, aviation traffic into a manageable flow for both the FBOs and air traffic operations, spreading out arrivals and departures instead of cramming them all into a handful of time periods.

Gregor said the agency also has developed an operational airspace plan 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.

While private jet travelers are used to setting their own schedule, during an event on this scale, passengers should expect more restrictions to be in place when arranging their flights. According to airport operators, the biggest problem when managing flights for the big game is that, while people arrive in town at different times, they all want to leave at once.

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


Scottsdale Airport (image from

Plans Or Upgrades In Preparation For The Super Bowl: The Scottsdale Airport, like the other Valley airports, has worked with the FAA, Super Bowl Transportation Committee and local, state and federal agencies on creating 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.

Expected Increase In Flights: 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 expects a similar increase in operations for this year’s game.


Plans or Upgrades: No physical changes are being made to the Phoenix Deer Valley airport, but there is significant planning and preparation in coordination with other Valley airports and the FAA. The airport is one of the busiest general-aviation airport in the US and has two FBOs, Cutter and Atlantic, which provide fueling, ground service, rental car and ground transportations, plus other additional services.

Expected Increase In Flights: Last Super Bowl, 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 number depending on the size of the planes.

Goodyear Airport


Plans or Upgrades: While there are no physical changes being made for the Super Bowl, like the other airports, Goodyear is making significant procedural preparations for the event. Staff at the airport work closely with its FBO, Lux Air, and the FAA to maximize the available space for accommodating additional aircraft.

Expected Increase In Flights: Goodyear can handle 140-150 additional aircraft for the event. During the last Super Bowl, Goodyear accommodated about 100 aircraft for the event.


Plans or Upgrades: The runway at Glendale Municipal was recently repaved as part of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s pavement preservation program, though the project was unrelated to the Super Bowl. It also will be creating extra parking on the south side of the airport for Super Bowl visitors.

Expected Increase In Flights: They won’t know for certain until reservations come in once the playing teams are announced, but are expecting to operate at capacity which is 100 jets at a time.


Mesa Falcon Field Airport

Plans or Upgrades: A series of projects from their improvement program was completed in October, including installation of runway lights, runway-pavement rehabilitation and an expanded FBO.

Expected Increase In Flights: Mesa Falcon Field is not requiring pilots to make a reservation through the PPR, so there may be an unanticipated increase due to pilots who decide to fly on short notice. It saw almost 6,000 takeoffs and landings the week of the 2008 game, though it is impossible to tell which were Super Bowl-related. The airport has two runways and two helicopter pads, so it plans to be busy with corporate jets and private aircraft.


Plans or Upgrades: Chandler Municipal airport has completed more than $2.5 million in improvements in the past three years, though they are grant-funded and 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.

Expected Increase In Flights: It hasn’t yet speculated what the increase in traffic may be, but Super Bowl-related traffic was minimal in 2008.

See prices and further information for private jet charter to Super Bowl 2015 here. For advice or a personalized quote, contact us or call our team (available 24/7) at (866) 726-1222.