February 13 will see thousands of fans heading to Los Angeles to watch one of the biggest sporting events in the USA. Super Bowl LVI, also known as Super Bowl 56, will be played at the SoFi Stadium, home to both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams.
Here, Business Airport International talks to FBOs in Los Angeles to find out what to expect if you are planning to fly to Super Bowl LVI.
“There are so many factors to consider when planning for large events,” said Barbara Hunt, vice president of business operations at Jet Center Los Angeles. “Coordinating with the FAA, NFL, NBAA and local stakeholders has been ongoing for the past year and the combined experience of the parties involved will ensure every potential challenge is considered.
For Jet Center Los Angeles the significant increase in arrivals and departures necessitates complex planning around ground movements, parking options, fueling, and other below-wing services.
“The customer-facing services are just as important, including availability of passenger lounge space and amenities, food and refreshments, ice, newspapers, pilot lounge facilities, conference rooms, valet and parking services, access to ground transportation including limousines and rental cars and coordinating their holding areas and FBO access, all while coordinating with base tenants,” said Hunt.
“We started planning for the event the day after Super Bowl LV was held in Tampa, Florida,” said Hunt. “Since the 2020-2021 NFL Season was the first at Sofi Stadium, this Super Bowl will represent the first significant event since the opening and a first-ever Super Bowl event for the Jet Center Los Angeles team.
“We are lucky to host the first full-capacity, in-person Super Bowl since the pandemic began. This may put the inaugural Super Bowl event at SoFi Stadium under a microscope along with all who are engaged in the support of this event, as well.”
FBO network ACI Jet began planning for Super Bowl LVI in the fourth quarter of 2021 and so far Covid-19 hasn’t hampered any of the plans.
“We are factoring the anticipated higher volume of traffic into all of our plans in order to ensure customer and employee safety, and we will be stocking up on extra PPE for our employees and guests. Planeside car service is available at cost and with advanced notice to those who would like to limit contact further,” said John Tucker, director, marketing & communications at ACI Jet.
The FAA estimates a 169% increase in aircraft traffic to John Wayne Santa Ana Airport during the Super Bowl period compared to the same dates in 2021. “While the traffic at both of our FBOs will be higher than average for February, the projected amount will be less than we have experienced during our busiest months. In other words – we’re ready,” said Tucker.
“We are expecting higher numbers of passengers per aircraft given the type of travel and the limited number of aircraft allowed to arrive and depart. We are taking steps to accommodate more passengers waiting for transport with extra room inside and outside the FBO and our valet is planning for an increase of parked cars and rideshare and car services,” said Tucker.
Hunt said, “We anticipate that we will be using every spare foot of parking and ramp space for the weekend and fuel sales for the weekend are expected to match our usual monthly sales. We expect full-to-capacity airplanes to be arriving and departing hourly from Saturday morning through Monday evening.”
Keeping customers informed with the most up-to-date information is priority for ACI Jet, “We have made planning information easily accessible on our website.
“It was important to us to communicate with our based tenants and make sure they have enough time to plan for their aircraft during that week. We have also been transparent about our prices and fees so that customers know exactly what to expect before booking their trip,” said Tucker.
“We have new software which allows us to process sales transactions on the ramp planeside, rather than having customers line up inside at the busy front counter, as you find at many FBOs,” said Hunt.
“We have also added a ramp and hangar management software system that maximizes our ramp space, coordinates towing plans and identifies aircraft location on the airport in real time.
“We are coordinating with vendors, including fuel providers, GSE vendors, refrigeration and ice vendors, caterers, valet and parking attendants, ground transportation providers, and even tapping into the local and remote staff from our airline and air charter teams to provide onsite team support. Organization and advanced planning are key so we will have a project manager onsite who will be directing our various teams to ensure a smooth customer experience from arrival to departure.”
“The best advice we can give is to plan far ahead and make your reservation as soon as possible,” said Tucker. “There are limited spots for GA at all airports in the LA basin and they will go quickly. This also goes for accommodations and transportation in the Los Angeles area.”
Hunt agrees: “Arrive early and leave late. We anticipate the greatest number of arrivals on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning prior to the game. Arriving prior to this will minimize the shuffle of numerous aircraft and passengers on the ramp and will also provide the best opportunity to secure hangar space or any other special services required.”
“Congestion is the number one challenge we are planning to avoid,” said Tucker. “Even the best plan can have hiccups if unexpected aircraft arrive or scheduled times are not adhered to. To prepare for this, redundancies have been built into the plan. We have secured extra fuel, equipment, parking space, food storage, aircraft maintenance resources and supplies, so that if any last-minute issues arise, operations can continue on time.”
“We will be inside the TFR during game time, so we will be precluded from allowing any arrivals or departures during the game,” said Hunt. “Many aircraft will be hoping to depart in the first few hours following the game. You’re on the West Coast! Stay in Los Angeles and enjoy a celebratory dinner, spend the night, and plan for a leisurely departure late on Monday.
“Also give yourself at least an hour or two to navigate the traffic. Rideshare is highly recommended.”
“Make sure your operator has scheduled a PPR reservation and is aware of the special event circumstances. Identify your maintenance providers in advance, too, as scheduling on-site maintenance during a high-traffic event like this can be challenging,” added Tucker.
“To prepare for the additional foot traffic, we will be creating more spaces inside and outside the FBO with food and entertainment for guests waiting for transportation and crews to wait for their passengers. We have made arrangements for access to a back-up fuel supply and extra ramp space in case we need overflow. said Tucker.
“We have also arranged for refrigerator trucks for an influx of catering to make sure everything stays safe and fresh. Customers who require aircraft maintenance will have a self-service AOG Booth which includes an automated ticketing system.”
“We have reserved extra fuel trucks and arranged for continuous access to fuel loads from our provider, Titan Aviation Fuels,” said Hunt. “Their team has partnered with us in both marketing and logistics to ensure a successful event. We will have extra GSE including GPUs, Lavatory carts, golf carts. A temporary refrigerator/freezer will be onsite to support extra ice and catering.
“This is the first time we will have an event of this size. We have reached out to other FBOs who have had recent Super Bowl experiences to seek their key learnings. We’ll tell you what surprised us when this event is in the rear-view mirror.”
Van Nuys Airport
Distance to stadium: 23.3 miles
FBOs: Signature Flight Support, Clay Lacy Aviation, Castle & Cooke Aviation, Jet Aviation
Hollywood Burbank Airport
Distance from stadium: 30.7 miles
FBOs: Million Air, Atlantic Aviation
Santa Monica Municipal Airport
Distance from the stadium: 10.3 miles
FBOs: Atlantic Aviation
Los Angeles International Airport
Distance from stadium: 3.8 miles
FBOs: Signature Flight Support, Atlantic Aviation
Long Beach Airport
Distance from stadium: 21.5 miles
FBOs: Signature Flight Support, Ross Aviation
LA/Ontario International Airport
Distance from stadium: 52.8 miles
FBOs: Guardian Jet Center
John Wayne Airport
Distance from stadium: 42.1 miles
FBOs: ACI Jet, Clay Lacy