Super Snags Expected at Airport
PHOENIX (AP) _ Sky Harbor International Airport workers anticipate a record pace of flight operations and long lines at ticket counters, skycap stations and rental-car returns on Monday as Super Bowl fans depart.
Swarms of corporate jets, charters and every-seat-full airliners are expected to keep the airport’s two runways busy, said Burleigh Stokes, who runs the air-traffic control tower.
A record 2,013 departures and landings were made Jan. 2, the day after the Fiesta Bowl, Stokes said. ``We expect many more the day after the Super Bowl.″
Because of the crowds of out-of-town visitors added to the airport’s normal traffic that includes hub operations for America West and Southwest airlines, long lines and lengthy delays are expected.
``People really need to treat that day like a very busy holiday and come early,″ airport spokesman Joan McHenry said of Monday.
America West spokesman Mike Mitchell said his airline was predicting a load factor systemwide of 71.5 percent, meaning the extra boardings in Phoenix would push the whole system up nearly 20 percentage points from the equivalent Monday last yera.
Southwest spokeswoman Linda Rutherford said her airline expects to carry 20,000 people out of Phoenix on Sunday, up from 9,000 people on a typical Monday.
Neither Southwest nor America West has any extra aircraft to bring in, Mitchell and Rutherford said.
Car-rental companies were planning to accept their returned vehicles at a lot near the airport, rather than the regular airport sites, and then use shuttles to transport customers to the airport.
Hertz customer-relations representative Charlotte Schirmer said her company’s workers would use hand-held devices to read a car’s mileage to help expedite returns but still expected an overwhelming crowd.