By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
Last Sunday after the Super Bowl ended, over 100 private jets departed from the Sugar Land Airport, and on Monday, the airport had over 155 departures as the last of the Super Bowl fans left the Houston area.
“We began planning for last weekend over a year ago,” said Elizabeth Rosenbaum, assistant aviation director. “Fortunately, everything went according to the plan.”
The airport was part of the Prior Permission Reservation system, as were both major airports, Bush and Hobby, and other airports like Ellington Field. Each arrival and departure this weekend required a reservation in advance.
“We wouldn’t prohibit a plane from landing without a reservation, but they would go to the end of the line for departures,” Rosenbaum said.
A typical weekend for the airport is 50 arrivals and departures. To handle the larger number of planes, the airport had volunteers on the tarmac to assist the airport’s 44 employees. The volunteers helped handle luggage and servicing the planes.
When a plane landed, usually there was pre-arranged transportation waiting for the passengers in a pre-assigned area. Once the plane came to a stop on the tarmac, the vehicle was given permission to drive up to the plane, and the passengers stepped off the plane and into their vehicle.
“Most of the passengers never set foot inside the terminal,” Rosenbaum said.
The revenue impact will be dramatic for the airport.
“We expect to sell 100,000 to 150,000 gallons of fuel this weekend at a price around $3 per gallon,” Rosenbaum said.
There was a visible Sugar Land police presence at the airport over the weekend.
“Normally this is a quiet place,” Rosenbaum said. “But we have had more security this weekend.”