Monroe County Airport officials are calling this the busiest weekend in their history with the traffic exceeding expectations.
The Monroe County airport does not have the final count of planes it served this weekend, but airport director Bruce Payton says at one point they had to shut down a runway and convert it to a parking lot for jets.
Payton says he hopes many of the business men and women that came through will remember the Hoosier Hospitality.
“It’s important that the airport put its best foot forward,” he says. “Clearly these are the mega-corporations of our world. And they come in and the first thing they are going to see of Indiana and Monroe County is the airport and it’s the last thing they are going to see when they leave.”
Payton says around $2 billion of aircraft was parked on the airport tarmac Sunday.
He says business leaders and professional sports players chose to fly into Bloomington to avoid the traffic in Indianapolis.
“Those that flew into places like Bloomington, Columbus, Terre Haute, they were able to drive just a little bit longer distance but be off the ground in just minutes as opposed to hours wait in the Indianapolis area,” he says.
Meanwhile in Terre Haute officials say that they while they did see an increase, they didn’t get as much traffic as they expected. Jordan Brown is the co-owner of Hoosier Aviation—the company that takes care of plane maintenance for the Terre Haute International Airport. He says some people were deterred from flying into the city because it seemed too far from Indianapolis
“On the aviation website part from the Super bowl was based on drive miles from the stadium so we were next to farthest away,” he says.
But Brown says the drive-time to the stadium is actually closer than several other airports because of the easy access to highway 70.
In Indianapolis, nearly three times the number of passengers are flying out than on a normal Monday. Post Super Bowl estimates from Indianapolis International airport say 23,000 passengers are expected through the gates with nearly 180 outbound flights. Indianapolis normally sees about 140 flights on a Monday.
Indiana Public Media reporter Katie Allman contributed to this report.