At the end of January, about 100,000 football fans will be heading to the Phoenix area for Super Bowl XLIX and a wide range of related festivities.
Most all of them will be arriving and departing from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport ,where the busiest day will be the day after the Super Bowl, February 2nd.
Is the airport ready for the big game? You bet.
This will be the Phoenix area’s third Super Bowl (games were held there in 1996 and 2008) and planning has been underway for months. Airport officials have been working closely with the Super Bowl Host Committee, airlines, the TSA, car rental companies and other partners to make sure everything is in place.
To accommodate the influx of football fans, restaurants inside the airport will increase their hours and the number of available taxis will be increased by approximately 50 percent.
Sky Harbor will also have increased customer service staff at the ready to welcome visitors. In addition to the 400 volunteer ‘Navigators’ at Sky Harbor, PHX will have about 200 Super Bowl volunteers on hand to answer questions.
Then there are the security preparations.
PHX is coordinating with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Phoenix Police Department and other public safety partners to make sure there’s increased law enforcement presence around the airport, including firefighters from the two Phoenix Fire stations located at Sky Harbor who will be patrolling the terminals on bikes.
(My story about PHX getting ready for the Super Bowl first appeared on USA Today in a slightly different version.)