The last time the Super Bowl was held in Miami, in 1999, the concept of regular temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) was yet to be revealed to the aviation world and traffic flowed smoothly, bringing spectators to watch the Denver Broncos crush the Atlanta Falcons 34 to 19. Fast-forward eight years and Miami was again host to the Super Bowl, but this time a TFR kept the skies over Dolphin Stadium free of general aviation traffic.
The TFR might actually have made it easier for Miami-area airports as many pilots chose to fly to airports outside the TFR’s 10-nm no-fly ring surrounding the stadium. Inside the no-fly ring, general aviation operations were initially prohibited from 4 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International (FLL), Miami International, Opa Locka and North Perry airports. However, the FAA ended the TFR early, so flights were permitted in the no-fly region after 10:30 p.m.
FBOs serving the Super Bowl traffic reported strong demand during the days leading up to the game and on the morning after. “We had more commercial charters than we expected,” said Ed Zwirn, COO of SheltAir at FLL, “and we still had room for another 25 airplanes. On the deck at one time we had 72 airplanes. Sunday night we had about 35 departures and on Monday the fractionals started plummeting back in and we had 70 departures.”
Also at FLL, National Jets handled more than 100 airplanes. “Our staff did a great job,” said Russ Boy Sr., executive vice president. “Traffic was very heavy on Monday, and every departure and arrival was smooth.”
Opa Locka might have been the busiest airport during the Super Bowl, with Miami Executive Aviation recording 410 flight operations between February 1 and 6. The FBO pumped 227,000 gallons of fuel, assisted by 50 temporary workers hired from local military installations, according to Jorge Lares, property manager.
Further north, Banyan Air Service at Fort Lauderdale Executive, with its spacious new terminal and ramp, handled a major fractional operator’s traffic, parking many airplanes on Runway 13/31, which was closed for the event. “It was the most activity we’ve seen in a long time,” said Nancy Bouvier, director of marketing, who also worked extra duty driving a golf cart.
Boca Raton got some Super Bowl traffic, with about 20 arrivals on Sunday, then nonstop departures on Monday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., said Avitat Boca general manager Rhonda Hughes. At Kendall-Tamiami Executive, pilots flying in for
the Super Bowl enjoyed FalconTrust Air’s complimentary bar, stadium-seating movie theater, comfortable, well stocked library and the gracious hospitality of CEO Albert Sotero.