If you’re flying into a Southern California airport this weekend, make sure to do your homework. Not only should you expect the delays, congested airspace, and temporary flight restrictions that accompany the Super Bowl, but you should also prepare for an extremely sharp increase in FBO fees.
AOPA was originally alerted of the costly fees by the owner of an Embraer Phenom who had hoped to fly to Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport for the game but was quoted a $3,000 ramp fee by Jet Center Los Angeles. This is the general aviation airport closest to the Super Bowl.
However, Elizabeth Mertinez, a front desk employee at Jet Center Los Angeles, told AOPA the fees set for the weekend are actually at least double that: “We do have a special event fee and it’s the slot reservation fee. It’s $3,000 for arrivals and $3,000 for departures,” said Mertinez. “That’s a $6,000 fee that needs to be made in order to reserve the slot.” Mertinez also explained that the nonrefundable $6,000 fee does not include facility fees, which range from $450 to $2,000 depending on aircraft type. And that is not to mention the overnight fees, which range from $100 for single-engine piston aircraft to $3,500 for regional jets.
If a $6,000 slot fee doesn’t suit your fancy, flying 8 nautical miles northwest to Santa Monica Municipal Airport will get you a somewhat more affordable rate from Atlantic Aviation: A staff member at Atlantic Aviation told AOPA that a minimum $1,500 service fee would apply, though it was unclear whether that was the only extra charge in effect. Communication difficulty during the phone conversation February 10 prevented follow-up questions.
Further north at Signature Flight Support at Long Beach (Daugherty Field), an employee told AOPA that nonrefundable slot times are available and reservations must be made in advance to receive service. The largest aircraft the FBO can accommodate is a Gulfstream 650, where the slot time fee is $4,700. Turboprop slot times are also available and will cost nearly $1,700.
Although many FBOs around Los Angeles are cashing in with four-figure fees, one GA-friendly FBO is saving the day. American Airports at the Compton/Woodley Airport in Compton will have no additional fees before, during, or after the game.
Multiple calls to Torrance Flite Park, an FBO at Zamperini Field in Torrance, uncovered no other information about fees. Staff at South Bay Aviation, a flight school that manages fuel sales at that airport, stated their operation does not manage parking at the airport, and provided no information about fees.
In addition to determining an aeronautically suitable (if expensive) airport to land at this weekend, make sure to check flight advisories and notices to air missions before flying anywhere near the Los Angeles area. The Super Bowl TFR will be in effect from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (subject to change if conditions warrant) and will cover a 30-nautical-mile ring from the center of the stadium.