Aircraft charter company, Air Charter Service, has seen a huge surge in demand for charter flights to next year’s Euro championships since the draw for the tournament was made on December 7th.
With some teams and their fans having to travel up to 2,000 miles in between group games, the chartering of aircraft has proved one of the only solutions to the logistical challenges of a tournament held across a whole continent for the first time.
Matthew Purton, ACS’s Group commercial jet director said, “Our phones have been ringing off the hook since the weekend, mainly from football associations and fans that have hundreds, or even thousands, of miles to travel in the four days between matches. We had already arranged travel for the play-offs following that draw a week earlier and we have now booked almost 40 charters for the tournament itself next summer.
“Group A is going to prove the most problematic in terms of travel arrangements. With Azerbaijan the only host nation not to have qualified, the arduous task of flying more than 2,500 miles from Cardiff to Baku is the prospect that the Welsh team and fans have had to deal with. Then, after their second group game, against Turkey, they will have to fly 2,000 miles from Baku to Rome to face Italy. Usually teams have a local base in the country where the tournament is based, but this championship throws up a bit of a logistical nightmare in between matches.
“England fans have it relatively easy – all three group stage matches are at Wembley, before a trip to Dublin, Copenhagen, Bilbao or Budapest depending on whether and where they qualify for the Round of 16. Then St Petersburg, Munich, Baku or Rome for the Quarter Finals, before the Semi Final and Final back at Wembley. If England win the group, and were to travel home in between games, they would travel just over 2,000 miles in order to reach the final over the course of the month, whereas if Wales won their group and came home between every match, they would have to travel almost 15,000 miles to get to the same stage.
“Whatever happens, it should be an interesting tournament in terms of travel, if nothing else.”