TMG Insights

1. Urban & Regional Planning

IND Airport Delivers a Touch-Down Performance for Super Bowl XLVI

Over the weekend Indianapolis hosted its very first Super Bowl.  The new airport terminal at Indianapolis International Airport (IND) was the first and last destination for most attendees arriving by air.  Multi-year planning, expansive new facilities and dedicated staff let IND handle the increased passenger traffic in stride.  The Super Bowl in Indianapolis was a defining event for the city’s people and its businesses.  The genuine excitement, planning effort and hospitality were present within the airport and across the city.

From the moment you stepped off the plane in Indianapolis, it was very apparent that you were in a “Super Bowl City”.  The new terminal facility boasts high ceilings and a clean, modern feel. The Airport was accented in tasteful Indianapolis Super Bowl displays that were provided, in part, by the city’s Host Committee.  Immediately upon leaving the concourse area, passengers walk through the centralized Civic Plaza which is surrounded by concessions and comfortable seating areas.  For the Super Bowl, the Civic Plaza put on a series of live entertainment acts; offered a wealth of concessions to help football fans get ready for the big game; and featured numerous dedicated volunteers, greeters and staff wishing everyone a “Super Day”.

At IND, the busiest day for scheduled arrivals was the Friday prior to the Super Bowl.  IND welcomed over 14,000 passengers on that Friday, representing record breaking traffic for the facility. In preparation for the increased passenger volume, IND implemented a strategic Super Bowl plan which included three temporary FAA towers which assisted in air traffic control and management of fleets of charters and commercial aircraft.  The plan also included a comprehensive ground transportation program which assured that taxis, limos, buses and their passengers would not congest any area of the Airport.  Staff, vendors and the Host Committee coordinated with concessions and rental car companies to accommodate the increased demand for all amenities.

When most of the passengers returned to IND on Monday after the game, any worries of grand chaos and congestion were mainly unwarranted.  Most passengers were informed to arrive earlier than normal to deal with the rush of passengers.  Monday morning, between the hours of 6:00 – 9:00AM there were approximately 6,500 passengers scheduled to leave.  Though there were long lines at the ticketing counters, passengers moved at a steady pace in order to check in and drop off their bags.  The Airport was careful to plan for increased security and opened all fourteen of their screening lanes at the security checkpoints.  In addition, the consolidated concourses allowed passengers to clear security at any checkpoint and easily walk to their gate regardless of which concourse they were headed to.

Though the planning and effort exuded within IND was instrumental in the airport’s planning efforts to support the city during its first Super Bowl, the one thing any visitor can attest to is that the city’s people were sincerely happy and excited to host such an epic event.  The overall feeling was simply described to me as “Hoosier Pride”.

In 2013, New Orleans will host its 10th Super Bowl and plans are already underway within the city to plan for the event.  Visitors will hopefully leave the city with the same welcoming feeling and a sense of Mardi Gras cheer and Southern hospitality.

Contributed by:

Nilsa M. Duran

Analyst, Planning & Built Environment

nilsaduran@tmg-consulting.net  or 504.569.9239 x 32

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