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F1 airport preparations were great warm-up for Super Bowl traffic

Updated January 23, 2024 - 12:07 pm

It turns out that preparing for a high level of private jet traffic for November’s Formula One race was good practice for Southern Nevada airports expecting big fly-in crowds for Super Bowl 58.

More than 1,000 private luxury aircraft arrivals and departures are anticipated for the days preceding and following this year’s Super Bowl game, being played at Allegiant Stadium less than a mile from the boundary of Harry Reid International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday issued its first notification of special air traffic procedures and flight restrictions for the Feb. 11 game and for pilots flying in and out of Las Vegas between Feb. 7 and 12.

A Reid Airport spokeswoman said Monday that it doesn’t yet have a count of the number of aircraft parking reservations that have been made for the Super Bowl, but that airport officials are anticipating around the same number of arrivals and departures as F1. For that event, there were about 1,000 arrivals and departures from the Tuesday before the race to the Monday after it at the Henderson and North Las Vegas airports.

Landing and takeoff slots are being managed by the FAA and Super Bowl executives who have years of experience identifying numbers of people arriving for the game on private planes.

The airports under the Clark County Department of Aviation — Reid International Airport, Henderson Executive Airport and North Las Vegas Airport — are expecting high volumes of air traffic for the game with the financial enticement of lower fuel costs in place at Henderson and North Las Vegas to encourage pilots to land and park there instead of at Reid. Some planes are expected to park; others will “drop and go,” leaving their passengers at the airport and parking elsewhere.

Boulder City Airport

The FAA also listed Boulder City Airport as a potential airport to park or drop off passengers. Representatives of Boulder City Airport, a municipal operation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FAA said it would post a “Notice to Air Missions” notification later in January to detail procedures for the game and specific arrival and departure route requirements. Regular updates are scheduled to appear on the FAA’s Super Bowl website.

Reservations are being taken by the fixed-base operators at Reid, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City for parking for the days preceding and following the game.

Clark County aviation officials have said they expect around 400 general aviation aircraft to park at its three Southern Nevada airports. The exact number of incoming planes is unclear because of differing sizes of aircraft.

The Department of Aviation also will charge special events landing fees to offset costs of the high volume of planes expected. Airports will charge $700 for Group 1 aircraft, $2,000 for Group 2 and $3,000 for Group 3.

The Federal Aviation Administration defines Group 1 aircraft as planes with a wingspan of less than 49 feet and a tail height of less than 20 feet; Group 2 with a wingspan of 49-79 feet and tail height of 20-30 feet; and Group 3 with a wingspan of 79-118 feet and tail height of 30-45 feet.

The FAA has already posted videos that show runway approach and airport taxiway footage, combined with diagrams and visual graphics to identify safety-sensitive areas at Henderson and North Las Vegas airports.

Reid Airport spokeswoman Heidi Hayes said some of the most popular takeoff and landing slots have already been claimed by some pilots.

F1 experience

“F1 gave us a really good indication of what to expect for the Super Bowl so we’re ready,” she said.

In addition to some of the special procedures that will be in place for flights before and after the game, the FAA will impose a temporary flight restriction from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. on game day — a standard Super Bowl procedure. The game is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

The temporary flight restriction will be centered in the airspace above Allegiant Stadium with a 10-mile inner core and a 30-mile outer ring.

Commercial flights landing and departing from Reid Airport won’t be affected by the temporary flight restriction. Emergency medical, public safety and military aircraft may enter the area in coordination with air traffic control.

Super Bowl 58, as a designated “National Security Special Event,” will be a “no-drone zone.” Additional restrictions on unmanned aircraft will be in place before, during and after the game.

Pilots who knowingly or willingly violate FAA restrictions may be intercepted, detained and interviewed by law enforcement personnel and are subject to criminal and civil penalties.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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