Along with its first Super Bowl, the region is expected to face super-packed roads, rails and airports as a horde of visiting sports fans arrives for a week of football festivities.
Some 400,000 people are expected to flock to the area for the big game and related events, with 80,000 fans set to fill MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday.
Not that Bill Weaver is complaining.
Weaver, the head of a private-jet service company at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, is looking forward to a rush of air travelers leading up to the big game. He plans to bring in 20 extra employees to handle what he expects to be 100 additional private planes over Super Bowl weekend.
“We’re preparing to be busy,” Weaver said. “We are hoping it’s going to be good for us.”
Weaver is president of Million Air, one of four companies at the airport that provide corporate- and private-jet maintenance services, such as parking, refueling, cleaning and catering. For Super Bowl weekend, Million Air is also hosting a special reception for its arriving clients.
“Westchester is going to get overflow from Teterboro that’s going to be so crowded that the airplanes won’t want to wait in the air,” Weaver said.
Airport manager Peter Scherrer said some companies and private-jet travelers may choose to fly to Westchester because it will be less congested and have fewer hassles than the air hubs near MetLife Stadium.
“Once you settle your airplane (closer to the stadium), you are not getting out,” he said. “At Westchester, you may have to drive a little more, but we don’t have any airspace restrictions,” before or after the game.
The airport will make room on runways to park the extra private planes expected, but the increased traffic won’t affect the airport’s commercial flights, Scherrer said.
Todd Dolphin, manager of Jet Systems, another private aircraft-service company at the airport, is hoping to gain new clients from Super Bowl weekend.
“If you are ready for it, it’s a good chance to have new people through and show them what you can do,” he said. “We never turn anyone away, no matter how busy we are.”