February 2 will see thousands of fans heading to Miami, Florida to watch one of the biggest sporting events in the USA. The Super Bowl LIV, also known as Super Bowl 54, will be played at the Hard Rock Stadium, home to both the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes.
Although the final result of the game cannot be predicted for sure, one thing is certain, an event as large as the Super Bowl presents challenges for FBOs and operators.
“We have been planning for a year,” said Jon Tonko, director of customer support at Banyan Air Services which is based at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport near the stadium.
“Our complex is 88 acres with 450 based customers within the facility so communication is key to letting everyone know the changes that will take place with the operation.
“You need to work very closely with the airport and tower managers to ensure any overflow parking requests are pre-approved, so the flow of traffic works with everyone on the airport. We will be using runway 13/31 for overflow parking.”
Michael Lerma, regional vice president of FBO operations at Sheltair Aviation Services at Fort Lauderdale- Hollywood International Airport said, “Communication and advance planning is key, we have a steady flow of communication with our customers for this event and every reservation is being confirmed with a personal follow-up call from our customer service team to ensure individual operator and passenger needs are identified and delivered in a timely efficient manner.
“Given the increased volume of traffic it is necessary for us to source additional staff, equipment and supplies from our surrounding network of FBOs. This requires advance coronation and cooperation between our various FBO locations.”
Sheltair began planning for the Super Bowl in June 2019 and conducts weekly meetings to ensure planning is going well.
Dana Fales, general manager, Fort Lauderdale Sheltair FBO said, “We have worked very closely with the airport authority, FAA, NFL, and TSA as they established the slot program early on. We also coordinated with vendors and suppliers for additional equipment, inventory and staffing to support the increase in activity.
“Examples would be pre-planning fuel inventory with our fuel partner Avfuel, increasing on-site rental cars, more frequent shuttle services, and additional refrigeration and ice truck on site to allow for extra capacity.
“Immediately following the 2019 Super Bowl, we reached out to a number of FBO operators in the Atlanta area and aircraft operators that flew in for the event to find out what worked and did not work. In June a more formal planning process was implemented.”
According to Tonko, detailed contingency planning and communicating with staff are key to a smooth operation during the event. He said, “If done properly, any surprises that pop up can be dealt with quickly without compromising the safety of the operation or customer service. You have to communicate, communicate and then communicate some more. This combined with planning and training will make the event successful.”
Lerma said, “As with any large scale event things can get chaotic during the peak arrival and departure waves and the speed of service can become constrained but we are attempting to consider these and other challenges in our preplanning to ensure we are operating as safely and efficiently as possible.”
With an event this large operators are expecting traffic to their FBOs to increase significantly. “It’s difficult to speculate the increase in traffic with the existing slot reservation system but we are prepared for a large turn out and ready to meet need needs of our customers with impeccable service and a safe operation.” added Lerma.
“It’s also difficult to say as the number of passengers we will service is dictated by aircraft size and frequency of operation. The slot reservations are filling in quickly and we expect a large turnout for the event.”
“Banyan is already a very busy FBO however we have the capability to handle 200 aircraft on the ground. I would say there will be around 700 operations at Banyan,” said Tonko.
Super Bowl LIV airports
If you are planning flights to the Super Bowl get ahead of the pack with BAI’s round-up of the closest airports to the Hard Rock stadium below:
Miami International Airport (MIA)
Miami International Airport is just a 25-minute drive from all the action and is home to Signature Flight Support. This FBO facility offers numerous services including 24-hour surveillance, a VIP suite and a passenger lounge.
Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE)
Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport is also a 25-minute drive from the stadium but this airport has numerous FBO options. Banyan Air Services, Sheltair Aviation Services, Executive Jet Center, Lynx FBO and W Aviation are all based here.
Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL)
20-minutes away from the Hard Rock Stadium is Fort Lauderdale International Airport where you’ll find Sheltair Aviation Services and Signature Flight Support.
Miami Opa Locka Airport (OPF)
Miami Opa Locka Airport (OPF) is a mere 10-minute drive from the action. This airport offers FBO services from Signature Flight Support, Atlantic Aviation and Fontainebleau Aviation.