FAA Gears Up for Super Bowl Air Traffic

January 29, 2018 11:42 PM

While both Super Bowl teams are now on the ground in Minnesota, there is still plenty to focus on in the skies above the Twin Cities.

At a Monday press conference, the Federal Aviation Administration explained how they'll handle an extra 3,500 takeoffs and landings expected between this Thursday and Monday morning, not just at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, but also at the larger area reliever airports, including in downtown St. Paul, Blaine and Eden Prairie.


Minnesota's Moment: KSTP's Super Bowl Page

"One of our busier peaks during the day is the 6 p.m. timeframe," explained Kurt Mara, FAA traffic management officer. "It'll be like that all day long, or the majority of the day, once we really hit that traffic period."

Making matters more complicated is what's called temporary flight restrictions, or TFRs. The restrictions are pretty common, but when there's a flight restriction for, as an example, a Vikings game, the restricted area stretches about 3 miles from the stadium. For the Super Bowl, the TFR stretches 30 miles.

So how does it all work?

It starts in the MSP Terminal Radar Approach Control facility. That's where planes are monitored once they're about 40 miles from the airport. Once the plane gets to about 5 miles out, workers in the air traffic control tower take over.

With the big game right around the corner, the FAA says they're feeling pretty good. In fact, their largest remaining concern probably won't come as much of a surprise.

RELATED: TSA Officers Prepare For Super-Sized Crowds At MSP

"Mine was the weather up to this point," Mara said. "And looking at the forecast, we're feeling fairly comfortable right now."

Although should the forecast change, Mara said the FAA has contingency plans in place.


Josh Rosenthal

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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