Million Air NEW command center key to coordinating Super Bowl traffic
There was little time for talking in the office of Addie Fanguy, division manager for Million Air NEW, as the onslaught of Super Bowl traffic began arriving on Friday, February 1. Battling slot restrictions and constricting temporary flight restrictions, the New Orleans Lakefront Airport facility was prepared to take on the challenges and coordinated effort such large events require. Just over one month before the Super Bowl, the NEW tarmac was home to the NBAA 2001 Convention static display and Million Air’s hangar housed a Bombardier Continental. With the city of New Orleans hosting a record nine NFL championship games and opening the millennium with back-to-back NBAA Conventions (2000 and 2001), the ramp crews at NEW have conditioned themselves to the demanding pace.
Above all the chaos, a large picture window on the second level of the FBO’s historic hangar provided a bird’s-eye view of the taxiways and Million Air’s ramp throughout the Super Bowl weekend. Fanguy, a retired New Orleans police officer, took personal charge of coordinating the effort from his temporary command center and meticulously accommodated the 400 or so aircraft that patronized the FBO. Although a number of crews concerned about the TFR and slot restrictions opted for a quick turn and made plans to pick up their passengers at facilities outside the 45-nm ring of restricted airspace, there was still no shortage of aircraft looking for a parking place at NEW. The west seawall taxiway, which extends out into Lake Pontchartrain, was at times four aircraft deep.
To expedite customer service for arriving guests, aircraft were quickly towed to the near end of the seawall parking area for fueling and other ramp servicing to accommodate the next arrival’s offloading of passengers in front of the building. From the moment of contact with the in-range calls, Fanguy kept flight crews informed of the state of the congestion on the ground and asked the inbound traffic to be prepared for an expedited offloading and deplaning. Fanguy added, “All of the inbound crews understood the pace and the demands of the operation. Most came in with concerns about the day after the game when they arrived and asked about departure procedures.” The FBO manager said the ramp crew made every effort to stage the overnighting aircraft with departure times in mind.
Fanguy recruited a number of friends to assist in his operation. Providing support on the ramp, local Citation pilots Bill Kounce and Rick Stouder, both based out of Million Air NEW, coordinated the movement of limousines, vans and buses to the pick-up points and security gates. Accompanying Fanguy in the command center was Capt. Don Curole, an associate from the New Orleans Police Department. The pair coordinated the movement of fuel trucks and the towing of the aircraft to the remote parking areas on the west seawall taxiway.