See where big money visitors to NFL Draft are coming into Cleveland


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found almost a traffic jam in the air downtown around Burke Lakefront Airport as some of the biggest stars come in for the NFL Draft.

Private planes are pouring into Burke for the draft. The private company that keeps the airport running says business is, well, soaring.

Paul Yagel, General Manager for Signature Air, told us, “Our business has picked up triple just for the draft.”

Yagel says planes are coming in before the draft, and teams are making plans to fly out draft picks to cities around the country.

In fact, just on Wednesday, we saw planes scheduled to fly in to Burke from Maryland, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington, DC, California, Georgia, and more.

Not a typical day at Burke.

Paul Yagel added, “We’re seeing all different sizes, all different types of aircraft which is telling us it’s not just the players. It’s not just the teams coming in, or college coaches; It’s a lot of people coming in from all over.”

Remember what Burke looked like in 2016 when the Cavs were in the NBA Finals. Planes parked in rows. This weekend, Burke could look something like that for the first time in years.

Incredibly, you could park a small airplane here and get closer to the draft and spend less money than you would parking your car. $7 to park the smallest airplane at Burke. And, the airport is just steps away from the site of the draft.

Of course, people flying in for the NFL Draft won’t come in that way for cheap parking.

And, fans we met, are anxious to see those travelers on the draft stage.

Elgin Garrett said, “You see ‘em on television and you almost get star-struck.”

And, Ashley Krause remarked, “I think some of the players would be cool. I’m a die-hard Browns fan, so anything with them would be cool.”

Meantime, we also checked on air traffic this week at Hopkins Airport. Cleveland’s primary airport has not seen a spike in passengers tied to the draft. Overall, fewer fans are flying in for the draft due to COVID-19.

Again though, more planes are landing next door to the stage as draft excitement is taking off.

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