Super Bowl XLVIII Not So Super for Bizav

 - February 4, 2014, 3:40 PM
The FBO ramps at the New York City-area airports–such as this one at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y.–still had plenty of room just before Sunday's Super Bowl kickoff. Though aircraft reservations were robust ahead of time, only about a third of the expected business aircraft traffic actually materialized on the ramps. (Photo: Curt Epstein)

Though the Super Bowl is typically counted on as a magnet for private aircraft, this year’s turnout at New York City-area airports proved in many cases to be disappointing. Teterboro (N.J.) Airport, which was expecting a sellout, still had space available on game day, with some FBOs there receiving traffic that was just half to one-third of their aircraft reservations. Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., which had expected to receive overflow traffic, reported only 14 late-night departures after the game.

At last year’s championship in New Orleans, as much as one-third of the business aircraft came from the New York/New Jersey area, a fact that clearly affected traffic this year. Other factors were the threat of inclement weather, which could have changed the game date; tight security; policies from local authorities that forbade private limousine drop-offs and pick-ups at the stadium; a strict aircraft reservation system at Teterboro; and game-day temporary flight restrictions.

“You just add all that up and I think at some point the customers mentally punched out and said, ‘You know what, we’ll go next year,’” Million Air president Roger Woolsey told AIN. His company’s White Plains facility received less than 20 percent of the private aircraft traffic it was expecting, he added.