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"Small Arizona airport rises to big occasion"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2008 09:57:38 +0430
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Small airport rises to big occasion
Facility in southwest Valley ready to handle Super Bowl influx
The Arizona Republic
Air traffic at Phoenix Goodyear Airport is robust this weekend, with about
100 private jets dropping off Super Bowl fans.
Heavy traffic was expected to start Friday with the first wave of landings
and continue through Monday with the final departures. For the big weekend,
the airport is staying open around the clock.
A Goodyear blimp also is being housed there for the week.
Reservations from pilots have been trickling in since December, but
officials said their phones have been ringing continually since Monday. Most
of the flights are originating from the East Coast, where both teams in
Sunday's Super Bowl XLII in Glendale are based.
Barney Helmick, manager at the airport, has been getting ready for the game
since last year, when he trekked to the Super Bowl in Miami to observe that
The most significant thing he picked up there was the need for increased
So in addition to the regular security staff, systems and fencing at Phoenix
Goodyear Airport, Phoenix police officers will be stationed there.
As the West Valley grows, so has the Goodyear airport.
Heavy traffic during the Super Bowl weekend is an anomaly, but one or two
corporate or private jets land there on a typical day, Helmick said.
Just a few years ago, that type of traffic was non-existent, he said.
Still, most of the 189,000 annual takeoffs or landings at the airport are by
student pilots at one of the four schools based at the facility, near
Litchfield Road and Maricopa County 85. The German airline Lufthansa trains
Only recently has the Phoenix municipal airport teamed up with a private
company to offer more airport services.
The company, Sun Western Flyers, has been catering to pilots and crews since
November by selling fuel and supplies and making arrangements for services
such as hotels and limousines.
Sun Western Flyers has 12 employees at the Goodyear airport and is bringing
in 20 more for the Super Bowl.
"We think we're well covered," Chief Operating Officer Tim Berger said.
As of Wednesday, reservations had been made for 70 jets, and Berger expects
100 will be coming in total.
Valley-wide, 1,000 private jets are expected to land this weekend, about
half at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
No private jets will be taking off or landing at Phoenix Goodyear Airport
from 3 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Helmick said. Because the airport is within a
10-mile radius of University of Phoenix Stadium, flights there will be
restricted for security.
Besides the Super Bowl, where the New England Patriots will face the New
York Giants, Phoenix Goodyear Airport this winter accommodated private jets
at another major West Valley event, a NASCAR race at Phoenix International
Raceway in Avondale. About 60 jets arrived for that.
"It's a bigger NASCAR for us," Helmick said, making a comparison to the
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