Minneapolis-area FBOs Score Big With Super Bowl LII Visitors

 - February 6, 2018, 9:56 AM
Premier Jet Center, one of three FBOs at Minneapolis' Flying Cloud Airport, saw just over 400 aircraft movements during the big-game rush, from Wed. Jan 31 through mid-day Feb 6th.

Super Bowl Sunday dawned cold—3 degrees F (-16 degreesC)—at the airports surrounding Minneapolis, Minnesota. And the area FBOs were ready, not just for the cold, but also for the thousands of business and GA aircraft that were scheduled to arrive and depart within a 24-hour window surrounding Super Bowl LII.

As a group, all of the FBOs serving the surrounding airports had everything—including additonal staff and extra deicing equipment—on hand to handle both the super-cold temperatures and the thousands of Super Bowl ready VIP passengers.

“We had monthly calls with the FAA and weekly meetings with our staff and other FBOs here at Flying Cloud Airport [FCM],” stated Darren Hall, vice president of marketing with Premier Jet Center, one of three service providers at the dedicated GA airport. “We were prepared for everything we could prepare for. We had extra de-icing trucks, snow removal equipment, fuel trucks, tugs, APUs, and a lot of extra staff.”

“With highs projected to be in the teens most of the week, the extra staff was critical so we could rotate personnel so no one had to say too long in the cold,” he said. “We also had extra service carts to drain the lavatories on the aircraft so they didn’t freeze. We also had boxes for the crews to offload any beverages so they didn’t freeze inside the airplanes.”

Big Game “Gamble” Paid Off

Bringing on all that extra equipment and personnel for Super Bowl week is really a gamble for area FBOs. It’s a huge expense and nobody knows where or how many airplanes are going to arrive for the game or how long they will stay.

At the end of the weekend, nearly 1,700 business and general aviation aircraft, most arriving on Saturday or Sunday and leaving right after the Eagles upset the Patriots Sunday evening, had partaken in the hospitality offered by the various FBOs around Minneapolis.

“We had to put our faith in past experience in other cities and what the NFL was telling us,” Hall told AIN. “It’s a very expensive gamble, but fortunately, it paid off for us this year. We had everything in place to give our visitors a great experience.”