Breaking News Emails
For Super Bowl week, New Jersey's Teterboro Airport is raising what might be considered a red-velvet rope around its airspace, requiring more than 1,000 private jets to vie for reserved spots just a few miles from MetLife Stadium.
"Teterboro will be the crown jewel of where everyone wants to go," said Jeff Trance, the senior vice president of Air Partner (Private Jets North America), which has Super Bowl packages from Denver starting at $36,000 and from Seattle for $64,000.
"It's already one of the most complicated air spaces in the country," he said, and Super Bowl week will be exacerbated by an extra 1,200 planes and the possibility of severe weather delays. "If it's a rainy, snowy day, it's going to be a mess."
In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a series of no-fly zones Feb. 2 that will shut down air traffic within an eight-mile radius of the stadium from about 4 p.m. until one hour after the game ends.
Teterboro is in the game-day, no-fly zone. Newark Liberty International Airport is just outside it and will not be affected, an FAA spokesman told CNBC.
Planes arriving at Teterboro, Newark and Kennedy International from Jan. 29 through Feb. 3 will also need reservations and must pay an extra $250 to defray extra Super Bowl costs.
Teterboro has only about 600 reservations for landing and plane parking spaces; all others will get "drop-and-go" access and will need to find parking at another air field, said Ron Marsico, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which operates Teterboro.
Overflow jet traffic will likely go to airports at Morristown, Atlantic City and Trenton, N.J.; White Plains and the Hudson Valley in New York; and Allentown, Pa.
Those reliever airports are likely to face the biggest disruption, said Michael Medvescek, senior director of airport operations at Indianapolis International.
"It's already one of the most complicated air spaces in the country. If it's a rainy, snowy day, it's going to be a mess."
For the 2012 Super Bowl, he said, the city's main airport had increases of 7 percent in commercial jets and 84 percent in private jets. But traffic at the three overflow airports rose 347 percent from the Monday before the game through the Monday after.
Obviously, those flying in for the game are not typical travelers.
"We're used to 300,000 to 400,000 fans for the Indianapolis 500," Medvescek said. "We thought 100,000 — no big deal. But it's different. For the Indy 500, it's Budweiser and hot dogs. People come in for the Super Bowl with caviar and ... wine. Their demands are much different."
Recalling one family of six who leased a 757, he added, "This is not your average people who come to the Super Bowl."
Trance at Air Partner agreed. Those booking private jets for the Super Bowl are not traveling that way for the first time but are "corporate and high net-worth individuals," he said.
Although his company is accustomed to serving such clients, it gets difficult right after the game, when everyone wants to fly out at once.
Waits will typically be two to three hours and "could be significantly later if there's weather," Trance said.
It's unlikely those "drop-and-go" planes will be able to get back to Teterboro right after the game, as air control probably will allow only about one landing an hour until all the parked planes depart, Trance said.
That's good business for the overflow airports.
Morristown Municipal Airport, 29 miles from the stadium, may be the best bet for anyone hoping to take off before the no-fly zone is lifted. It has nearly 200 spots available for reservation and had booked about 50 as of Tuesday morning, according to Maria Sheridan, the airport's senior director of government affairs and business development.
"We'll be the first choice for anyone hoping to leave before the game is over," she said.
While Morristown is one of the airports with a reservation system for all arriving and departing planes from Tuesday, Jan. 28, through Monday, Feb. 3, the Trenton-Mercer Airport Mercer has no reservation requirement, according to Julie Willmot, the director of communications for the County of Mercer.
"However, the fixed-base operator, Ronson Aviation, has received a handful of reservations," she said.
Based on Indianapolis' experience, Medvescek said, overflow airports need to be ready with extra snow plows and de-icing equipment on site — not just on call. Indianapolis had 50-degree weather on Super Bowl Sunday, but frost Monday morning required all planes to be de-iced, a process that takes about 45 minutes per aircraft.
Air Partner is encouraging clients to arrive early and leave late. Failing that, it advises tailgating in the plane and arranging for concierge services on the ground to ease the transportation tangle.
And for those hoping to land a helicopter at the stadium's helipad, forget about it.
"There is no possible way to do that Sunday or Monday," Trance said, "unless you're getting Medevaced out."