- Hundreds of private jets are expected to flood Las Vegas this weekend for Super Bowl LVIII.
- Parking space is limited to only about 500 spots across four Vegas-area airports.
- Eyes are on Taylor Swift’s potential travel to the game after her string of concerts in Tokyo this week.
Some 330,000 people are expected to visit Las Vegas this weekend as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.
Half are likely to arrive by air, Clark County Department of Aviation spokesperson Heidi Hayes told Business Insider, and the rich and famous among them will largely travel via private plane. Either way. it takes a village to safely coordinate the massive spike in operations.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it has added around 3,500 additional takeoff and landing slots for the Super Bowl weekend, noting it is working with law enforcement, the aviation community, and the National Football League.
The additional flights are part of a slot system managed by the FAA and the NFL, which covers several Vegas-area airports and helps mitigate oversaturation in the airspace during the busy weekend.
These include Sin City’s main Harry Reid International Airport, as well as Henderson Executive Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, and Boulder City Airport in the suburbs. The latter three primarily handle charters and general aviation flights, not scheduled airlines.
Speaking to the Henderson and North Las Vegas airports, Hayes told BI there are about 1,100 slots across the two. She said the airport slot doesn’t come at a cost, but both charge a special event landing fee ranging between $750 and $3,000, depending on the size of the plane.
“The reservation slots for landing and departing are double the price they normally are for the Big Game in other cities,” a spokesperson for private aviation company Flexjet told BI, noting only two Vegas-area airports can handle larger private aircraft.
Private charter company VistaJet, another jet provider seeing high demand for the game, said the landing availability in the Las Vegas region was full by mid-January, noting the company recorded a 25% increase in flight bookings compared to last year’s game.
“We proactively secured accommodations for our clients well in advance,” VistaJet US president Leona Qi said. “Now, Los Angeles is one of the nearest locations with availability.”
Private plane parking is limited in Las Vegas
Securing an airport slot is one challenge, but finding parking is proving to be another, as spots are limited to only about 500 planes across Las Vegas, the FAA told BI.
According to the agency, Super Bowl parking spot reservations are handed by aircraft service stations known as fixed-based operators, or FBOs.
These handle things like parking, maintenance, passenger handling, and fueling. FBOs are separate from airline terminals and are regularly used by private travelers to skip the crowded passenger gates and busy security lines at large airports.
Like the landing slots, those parking spots are also already full, an FAA spokesperson told the Associated Press.
“The ramps in Vegas will be overwhelmed,” private aviation provider flyExclusive CEO Jim Segrave told BI, noting last-minute parking spots will be difficult to find. “People will have to take what they can get at this point.”
Adding to the congestion is the LIV Golf tournament, also being held in Las Vegas this weekend. The same problem occurred last year when the WM Phoenix Open and the Super Bowl both took place in Glendale, Arizona, which sold out the 1,100 parking places available across its area airports, Breitenfeldt said.
To prep for the influx in ground activity, one of the FBOs managing private jets at Harry Reid, Signature Aviation, is adding another 30 workers to its Las Vegas location — representing a 50% increase in staff, the company’s west region VP, Niall Mulcahy, told BI.
The FBO is also bringing in more ground equipment, like refuelers, power units, and tugs: “Formula 1 served as a great template for the Super Bowl,” Mulcahy said, referencing the Grand Prix race hosted in Las Vegas in November.
Instead of parking, some travelers will do a “drop-and-go” by sending their planes to be parked at an airport further away. Wealthy flyers will also use private charter companies like flyExclusive and VistaJet to schedule a drop-off and pick-up before and after the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, in the air, the FAA has created what it calls Traffic Management Initiatives to ensure “equitable access to airports and airspace.”
The agency has warned pilots of busy and bottlenecked skies in and around Las Vegas this weekend and to expect things like reroutes, holding, altitude restrictions, ground stops, and ground delays.
People worry if Taylor Swift will make it in time for the Super Bowl
Among the most noteworthy billionaires expected to fly to the Super Bowl this year is Taylor Swift, to cheer on her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
While Swift has a concert in Tokyo the night before, Japan’s diplomats have assured fans she won’t miss the game — but she likely won’t be traveling on her own plane.
According to the FAA, Swift’s Dassault Falcon 900, previously registered N898TS, transferred ownership on January 30 to a company based in Missouri.
Her other — and now only — personal jet, a Dassault 7X registered as N621MM, last flew from Baltimore to Nashville on January 28 and hasn’t moved since, according to data from the aircraft tracking website JetSpy.
Representatives for Swift did not immediately respond to comment from BI regarding her planned Super Bowl travels.
If Swift’s 7X stays put, the pop star is likely to charter a plane for the 12-hour trek from Tokyo to Las Vegas. Ultra-long-ranged private jets like the Bombardier Global 7500 and the Gulfstream G700 could make the journey.
“Of the flights going into the region, 66% are on our Bombardier aircraft,” Qi told BI, noting that included its Global 7500.