While the -15 degree F wind chill was a bit of a shock to arriving Super Bowl passengers, after 18 months of planning it was “business as usual” for Minneapolis-area FBOs. Line crews darted between arriving aircraft to quick-drain aircraft lavs and remove beverages from the cabin so they didn’t freeze. Meanwhile, CSRs dressed in arctic-grade parkas and gloves ushered arriving passengers into heated vehicles headed for the FBO and rides to U.S. Bank Stadium.
“The weather is what we deal with every day in the winter,” said Nancy Grazzini-Olson, the president of Thunderbird Aviation at Flying Cloud Airport. “But everything else is the result of a year and a half of planning.”
The majority of that pre-game planning was in the form of safely coordinating the arrival and departure of nearly 1,000 business and general aviation aircraft between Saturday afternoon and early this morning. “We had departures scheduled right after the game and going until the 3 a.m. curfew,” said Grazzini-Olson. “Our team will get a three-hour nap, then it’s full press from 6 a.m. until everyone’s gone.”
According to the FBOs AIN contacted earlier today, all their efforts paid off in smooth operations. “We had a bit of snow on Saturday, but there were no other weather issues,” one representative said. “Seemed like the only unhappy departures were the Patriots fans.”