Friday, February 01, 2008

Super Bowl Sky Jam

Above: Flight arrivals and departures at Phoenix Sky Harbor and Deer Valley Airports, 6.50 p.m. (Eastern time) Friday

I've been writing articles recently about the hype and hustle in the walk-up to Sunday's Super Bowl in Phoenix (actually, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in nearby Glendale).

You know, private jets pouring in, $5,000-a-head parties, celebrities and sports figures for hire by the hour like a herd of $3,000 hookers (and there's that, too). Super Bowl is a football game on television. To most of those who go there, though, it's the year's greatest corporate toga party.

The spectacle is compounded by the huge golf crowds already on hand this week for the FBR Open in Scottsdale, one of the major PGA tournaments.

There's a good follow-up story in today's Wall Street Journal reporting that lots of the Super Swells arrive, party, network -- and get out of town before the game!

Now, one reason for that is that those arriving by corporate and private jet are well aware that Super Bowl Sunday Night has become an infamous super traffic jam for private jets. And this year, the greatest influx of private jets ever is arriving at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where two of the three runways are going to be used exclusively for private jets Sunday night.

The latest figures show that in excess of 1,000 private jets are expected to arrive for Super Bowl at Sky Harbor and at a half dozen smaller general aviation airports in the region.

That's roughly one in every 10 private jets in the world.

Fancy corporate reception tents and centers have been set up at private-jet terminals at Sky Harbor and other Phoenix-area airports -- for private jet passengers to cool their heels and maybe their tempers as the departure traffic mounts Sunday after the game. I'd love to be on hand just to see some of those hot-shots bellowing in a rage, "Do you know who I am?""

Anyway, for those of you keeping score, has a nifty Super Bowl Phoenix air space tracker that will show you the pile-ups for the next several days, commercial and general aviation. The snapshot image above is from 6.50 p.m. tonight.

If you really want to drill down into who's what in the skies, including real-time traffic by tail number and aircraft type, here is the amazing site to do it:

The weather forecast for Phoenix, where it hardly rains, is not good for Super Bowl revelers trying to beat it home on the G5 after the game: Showers and thunderstorms in early evening.

So be sure to tune in on Sunday night.

[Update, Feb. 2 -- By the way, here is my pick for the sorriest Super Bowl "color" feature, not that there haven't been dozens of other candidates this week. And the AP just jacked up its rates for its client newspapers, too.]


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