When Super Bowl LIII comes to Atlanta in February, a lot of private jets will be flying into Cobb County International Airport.
The airport is expecting about 800 corporate flights into and out of the airport starting the Thursday before the Super Bowl– normally it would see about 120 flights during that time.
That means a lot of big wigs, hot shots, top dogs and head honchos will be coming to town, and Select Cobb, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s economic development arm, is eager to get its name out in front of them.
“We have a very desirable demographic coming to the airport in droves, who are key decision makers,” said Cobb Chamber Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications Amy Selby. “If you are chartering a jet to come to the Super Bowl, in my mind, you are a decision maker, you’re a somebody, and you’re someone I want to place Select Cobb in front of.”
Selby spoke at the Development Authority of Cobb County’s special called meeting Monday morning, where she pitched the board members on spending $40,000 to become sponsors for a hospitality suite at the airport’s restaurant, Elevations Chophouse. The opportunity came from Hawthorne Global Aviation Services, which oversees the airport.
“We’ll get to own the upstairs portion of the restaurant so we can deck it out as we like, and we can also have Development Authority and Select Cobb board members drop in to speak with the patrons if we like, we have that opportunity as well,” Selby said.
Development authority Chairman Clark Hungerford, who also sits on the county’s Airport Advisory Board, said he thinks that is a great idea.
“This is probably one of the biggest things that’s going to happen to this airport probably in the next ten years, I would say,” Hungerford said. “Having the Super Bowl come to Atlanta, this is almost once-in-a-lifetime … We’re going to end up being, if not the busiest private airport during this period of time, we’ll be close to it.”
The airport has made deals with three private jet companies to park aircraft there, NetJets, Wheels Up and Flexjet. Hungerford said they are the who’s who of the jet set.
“The people that are going to come in on this, when you look at NetJets, Wheels Up and Flexjet, those are the top of the top people who, when they rent planes, these are the people that really will be making the decisions as far as potential economic opportunities,” he said.
The other authority members agreed and approved the $40,000 request unanimously.
Several members said the ability to rub elbows with the decision-makers was an appealing part of the plan, and they discussed ways to make a good first impression.
“If we know what international flights are coming in, it would be very helpful to know what countries they’re coming from,” said authority member Donna Rowe. “If we have at our disposal people who can speak that language in a cordial, hospitable way, instead of making them speak English all the time, I think that would be helpful … So they can feel comfortable and welcome here in Cobb County.”