Tampa Bay prepares to receive private jets for Super Bowl

By Felipe Reisch 

Only a few days remain before the greatest sporting event in the world, a date marked on every private jet provider’s calendar thanks to an increase in demand and last-minute flights to the venue. Will this year be any different due to the outbreak?

Super Bowl LV will be like no other. Only 22,000 fans will be allowed to attend this year, including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers. Tampa Bay averaged, roughly, over 14,000 fans for its eight home games this season, just over 20 percent of the stadium’s capacity.

Tampa Bay is a top private jet destination

It also does not hurt that Tampa Bay is a privileged private jet venue, with three strategically located airports within 10 miles of Raymond James Stadium. Tampa International Airport is located just 8 miles from the stadium while Tampa Executive Airport, formerly known as Vandenberg Airport, lies just 12 miles away.

“We have been preparing for Super Bowl LV for over a year and will see a large influx of private jets,” said Brett Fay, TPA’s Director of General Aviation. “Despite stadium capacity limits, and the fact that we’re hosting the first home team, we expect to see 200 corporate aircraft on the ground by Sunday. Handling this number of general aviation aircraft is typical of these major events and we saw the same thing when Tampa Bay hosted the 2017 College Football National Championship. We will be operating under an FAA reservation system, to manage the influx of air traffic, and we fully expect to be the busiest airport in the world during the early hours of Monday morning.”

This is the go-to option for those travelers wanting to avoid the expected crowds at the international terminal. Peter O. Knight Airport, in downtown Tampa, also serves that purpose and is conveniently located just 8 miles from Raymond James Stadium.

“Private aviation demonstrated, during 2020, that with the right company policies, and sustained preparedness, it is arguably the safest means of transportation during an outbreak. Comfort, and flexibility, remain important assets as well but perceived safety is what will continue driving demand for flights to the Super Bowl and throughout 2021,” said David Gitman, president of the Monarch Air Group.

Increasing demand during Super Bowl weekend

Monarch Air Group, a Fort Lauderdale-based firm, also reported that during a normal week prior to Super Bowl it registers an increase of 50% in bookings and it projects that the upcoming event might generate even more demand due to its uniqueness, and the limitations of global commercial aviation, due to the pandemic. Private aviation terminals, also called Fixed Base Operators, tend to offer a special event fee.

Occasional travelers account for an important percentage of the increase in flights. Groups of travelers who charter a jet once, or twice, a year, for specific events, will be specifically searching for companies that can provide a safe, all-around trip with reduced touchpoints and a controlled environment.

How much does a private jet cost?

Although fans from both contending teams will be traveling to Tampa Bay, as usual, most aircraft will be arriving from Miami, New York and Los Angeles, the country’s main private jet hubs. Prices will vary depending on the route and type of jet, which ultimately will define where to land. Why? Because, for instance, with a runway of only 3,500 ft., Peter O. Knight Airport can serve only smaller jets. Tampa International can receive all sorts of larger, heavy jets as well as Tampa Executive Airport.

Uniqueness (less fans), safety (pandemic) and reliability (limitations of commercial aviation) will define Super Bowl LV during early February, three traits that can be thoroughly met by private aviation today.

Felipe Reisch is a communications professional with experience in the South America and U.S. aviation industry, specifically in the BizAv market. He holds a master’s degree in Corporate Communications and Reputation Management from The University of Manchester and works as a public relations manager for Monarch Air Group in Fort Lauderdale. He’ll respond to questions or comments at [email protected].

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