Business aviation prepares for Super Bowl LVII


February 12th will see thousands of fans heading to Glendale, Arizona to watch one of the biggest sporting events in the USA.

The Super Bowl LVII, also known as Super Bowl 57, will be played at the State Farm Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals.

Arizona has previously hosted three Super Bowls but if this is your first year going, Business Airport International has spoken to some industry insiders to see how they have prepared for the game.

Matt Nebgen, director of Gateway Aviation Services at Phoenix Mesa Airport

Can you explain how you prepare for such a large event?

The things you do in the normal course of operations increase exponentially due to the condensed time frame, Thursday to Monday. Rental cars, catering, ice supply, luggage handling and aircraft parking all will be way above normal operations.

 How long did the planning take?

We started around 6 months ago. This is my third Super Bowl at Gateway and we have a plan we used from 2015. We dusted it off and updated and are using the same plan from 2015.

How much are you expecting the traffic to your FBO to increase?

Over the five-day period we are expecting to park between 75 to 100 aircraft and their crews and passengers. We may have some aircraft that arrive and depart multiple times as well which adds to the number of aircraft being handled.

How do you work with clients to ensure everything runs smoothly?

We have a communication plan that starts from the time they book with us and confirm their reservation. We send emails with all the information on how they will be handled on arrival and departure. We set expectations early so that we can maintain the schedule and the operation runs smoothly.

What advice would you give to people planning to fly in to watch the game?

Bring some patience because it will be busy, not just at the airport, but throughout the Valley! Remember it’s not just the big game but we also have the Waste Management Open golf tournament, so the entire Valley will have some type of activity.  Most importantly have fun and enjoy all the things the Valley of the Sun has to offer!

What special arrangements do you have in place?

We won’t be doing anything special for the event. My experience is that we have low numbers of people that hang out at the airport. We will have some pilots here. We are lucky to have a restaurant in the FBO that will be doing big game specials.

What challenges can an event this large cause you?

Safety concerns, first and foremost. The potential to have something happen to a customer or an aircraft. That is our number one concern. But that is why we plan and we work to anticipate things so we are as prepared as possible.

Richard Layson, VP Regional FBO operations, Jet Aviation, Scottsdale Airport

How do you plan for such a large event?

We spend several months planning and preparing on-site and across our network, both internally and in collaboration with our partners at the airport and in the local community.

We expect to see some 600 flights during the event. Our brand promise is to make the experience seamless and to ensure this we will welcome around 30 additional employees from across our US FBO network. Along with preparing our operations plan, we also ensure additional equipment at our site, and organize food vendors and hotels to support the amplified volume.

As a global company with experience in supporting a number of high-profile sporting, cultural and political events across the world, we are well-equipped to adapt our operational plans to maximize capacity. We also draw on our successful experience hosting customers at our Van Nuys FBO during the 2022 game.

How much are you expecting the traffic to your FBO to increase?

We are going to see a 300% increase in traffic in comparison to a normal day in Scottsdale.

How do you work with operators and individuals to ensure everything runs smoothly during an event like this?

We are in close and regular contact with the airport, the city of Scottsdale, and our partners in the industry and community to ensure a safe experience for our customers during the event and beyond. We pay particular attention to workforce allocation, transportation, and traffic management of both aircraft and ground vehicles, to ensure that any journey through our facility and the airport is effortless. Specialized software is also used to plan aircraft parking movements to move aircraft around.

What problems can an event this large cause you?

The largest challenge is reservation space. If an aircraft’s schedule changes, our teams have to work quickly and closely with the customer and our local partners to ensure tarmac availability. That is why it’s so important to be aligned, detail-oriented, and extra vigilant during high activity time spans, and where the experience and commitment of our teams from Scottsdale and our wider network really come into play.

What special arrangements do you have in place?

We are well-equipped to adapt our operational plans to maximize capacity, while ensuring a seamless service for our customers during this exciting and busy week.

We have spent several months working with our partners and employees to ensure we are fully prepared, whether that is with additional equipment, amenities, or with the 30 line and ramp employees joining us from across our US FBO network. For those wishing to fly on Sustainable Aviation Fuel, we have our global Book and Claim program available to support.

The team is excited to welcome our customers to Scottsdale!

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About Author


Paige is an experienced journalist and editor who started her career covering the building and architecture sector. After several years writing and editing online and print articles for leading journals in this sector, she is bringing her thorough approach to technical content to covering aerospace engineering. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and is always planning her next trip

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