Getting Ready for the Big Game

rayvonsuperbowlArticle by Todd Guild appeared in the Register Pajaronian on Tuesday, January 5th. (photos by Tarmo Hanula)

Getting Ready for the Big Game
Watsonville Municipal Airport to play host to Super Bowl flights

As football fans around the U.S. prepare to descend on Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium for the upcoming Super Bowl on February 7th, hotels surrounding the venue are filling up, and businesses there are hoping for a windfall of new customers.

At the same time, scores of people are flying in to see the game, so many that San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose airports will be opening up overflow parking space for the corporate jets that will likely be arriving.

Watsonville Municipal Aiport Manager Rayvon Williams said these will likely consist largely of corporate-owned jets flying in their bigwigs for the game. But an Oklahoma-based oil baron has already expressed interest in a slot here, as have a couple of people from southern California, he said.

With such space at a premium, Watsonville Municipal Airport has thrown its considerably smaller hat into the ring, opening up its tarmac to a possible fleet of corporate jets and private pilots.

The airport will have help from the City of Watsonville, the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and the Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council, Williams said.

“We will be a conduit for many individuals coming into the area,” Williams said. “We will be the first ones they see when they arrive. We can show visitors that there is more here than just the airport.”

To be approved for playing host to Super Bowl visitors, Williams said he first had to assure the Federal Aviation Administration that the airport can handle larger aircraft. This includes having a long runway that can accommodate airplanes that outweigh the smaller planes normally seen here several times over.

Airports must also be within 90 miles of Levi’s Stadium, Williams said. It is unclear how many planes Watsonville will host until the FAA reservation system opens next week. He said he expects anywhere from four to 40.”

The same is true for San Francisco and San Jose Aiport, where officials are planning on opening up additional parking space, and flights will be under extra restrictions. “We tell our pilots to plan well in advance,” San Jose Airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said. Watsonville Airport is bringing in an extra fuel truck and filling its 12,000-gallon tank to assure everyone can fill up. It is also providing round-the-clock security, Williams said.

To make sure pilots aren’t doubling up, the FAA is requiring all pilots flying in and out during the Super Bowl to make reservations for 15-minute landing and takeoff slots, which is particularly important at Watsonville Airport, which lacks a control tower, Williams said.

Now that Watsonville has played host to the Super Bowl, it’s likely that the City could be a target destination for future A-list events, Williams said.

“We hope that, at the end of the day, people will say, “Watsonville is a cool place,” he said. Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture CEO Shaz Lint said city representatives will be on hand when the guests arrive, literally rolling out the red carpet and offering gifts of local products and information about local attractions.

She said the event could be a boon for local hotels and restaurants. “This is a huge opportunity for us,” Lint said. “We’re going to show off our wonderful community. There is so much people don’t know about Watsonville.”


Watsonville Municipal Airport, 100 Aviation Way, Watsonville, CA 95076



This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 at 9:14 am and is filed under City Manager, City of Watsonville, Community Development, Economic Development, Homepage News, Public Works . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.