Oakland Airport expects 500 private jets clogging East Bay skies for Super Bowl

Traffic in and around the Oakland Airport during 
Super Bowl 50 may be equal to Thanksgiving.

OAKLAND AIRPORT | For NFL teams competing for a spot in the Super Bowl, success usually comes through the air. It’s the same for some of the richest people in the world arriving, game tickets in hand, through Bay Area airports next month.

At the Oakland Airport alone, between 400 and 500 additional private jets carrying wealthy fans are expected to touchdown for Super Bowl weekend, said a representative for the airport.

In total, over 1,200 private jets are estimated to arrive in the Bay Area for the big game, the Federal Aviation Administration told airport officials. “It’s an extraordinary amount of jets,” said Matt Davis, assistant aviation director for the Oakland Airport.

Not only will the skies over the East Bay be noisy before and after the Feb. 7 championship game, but so will the roads in and around the Oakland Airport, which expects traffic comparable to a Thanksgiving holiday, said Davis.

In addition, residents in Oakland and along the bay in Alameda and San Leandro will likely hear additional jet noise over their homes. “This event will have some impact for the community in terms of the number of jets,” he said.

That’s because the Oakland Airport may facilitate all the extra airplane traffic with runways it does not typically use. “Flight patterns may be different than what people are accustomed to be seeing,” said Davis. But any changes in runway use are the Federal Aviation Administration’s call, not the airport’s, he added. The airport will mitigate some of the activity, said Davis, by utilizing runways that lead over water, instead of over the East Bay.

But, the additional airplane noise over the area and crush of traffic could be worsened by an additional set of factors, said Davis. Teams who advance to the Super Bowl which have larger national followings may bring even more airplane traffic to the area. Two such teams, the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, fit that description.

President Barack Obama also plans to attend the game—likely arriving at a venue closer to the stadium in Santa Clara—which may put further stress on the Oakland Airport, said Davis, after additional security measures shift more airplane traffic to the East Bay.

The good news, though, is that many of these well-off football fans are expected to have their private jets fired up and ready to leave, according to Davis, beginning as early as the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

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