'Super' Reflections at Tampa

Phil Botana, vice president and general manager of the Tampa Jet Center, relates that a few of the biggest ‘lessons learned’ from handling this year’s NFL Super Bowl involve planning, up front reservation fees, and locking up extra rooms for...

“One of the things we did that made a difference for us financially was we established an event fee because of all the expense that we knew we were going to incur. It varied by size of airplane, from $350 to $650, regardless of whether they bought fuel or not. People didn’t have a problem with it. The fees were reasonable enough. We collected it at the time they made the reservation.” That lesson learned, he says, came from the Glendale (AZ) Airport’s experience with the 2008 Super Bowl, which had a significant amount of no-shows. Glendale had not charged an event fee in advance.

“The fees represented $80-90,000,” says Botana. “That made a big difference for us. Signature didn’t take that approach; they were charging their normal ramp fees, but not in advance.”
The airport hired an independent ground handling company to help with departures, charging $30 per aircraft.

According to Botana, the greatest benefit from handling a Super Bowl came from the exposure received by bizjet customers, particularly for the relative newcomer at TPA.

“To me it’s more important that we do a good job and impress people as an independent. That’s my first goal.

“The second goal is to not have it cost money; but the primary objective was to do a good job and enhance our reputation.”

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