Arizona airports prepare for Super Bowl traffic

November 20, 2007

It's Super Bowl time in Glendale, Ariz.—well, Super Bowl preparation time. Two airports in the area, Glendale Municipal and Phoenix Deer Valley, are already working on ways to accommodate the anticipated influx of air traffic and aircraft at their airports.

AOPA is pointing out right and wrong ways to prepare.

Glendale airport officials had originally proposed to ban tenants from flying at the airport and severely restrict access from Jan. 27 to Feb. 4. But thanks to opposition from AOPA and based tenants, airport officials decided on Nov. 14 to back away from the plan that would have violated tenants' rights and FAA grant assurances.

Because the airport has accepted federal funding, it must remain open and accessible to pilots.

AOPA had pointed out that based pilots needed to be able to access their aircraft and operate at the airport because many use their airplanes for business purposes in addition to pleasure. The association urged airport officials to work with its tenants to come up with a workable solution.

During the Nov. 14 meeting, airport officials agreed to make moving aircraft out of their tiedown spaces voluntary instead of mandatory as originally proposed, according to AOPA Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteer Roger Whittier. They are also working to find spaces available at neighboring airports to offer tenants an incentive to temporarily relocate during the influx of traffic associated with the Super Bowl.

To ensure that tenants are treated fairly, a committee will work with airport officials to iron out the process. Whittier will serve on the committee. Also, the new Glendale Pilots Association, which formed last week in response to proposed ban, will be looking out for pilots' interests.

"This seems to be a step in the right direction," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "Airport officials seem more open minded, and now there is an on-airport association to advocate for pilots' needs at the local level. We'll also continue to work with our ASN volunteer to ensure a fair resolution."

Meanwhile, nearby Phoenix Deer Valley Airport is preparing for the Super Bowl the right way: Working with AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Art Rosen and tenants to voluntarily make more room for the influx of aircraft.

"These proactive, voluntary approaches are the best way to meet the needs of based tenants and the transient pilots who will be flying in for the Super Bowl," Dunn said.