The UEFA Euro 2020 tournament will be the first to be hosted across the continent, which could produce major logistical issues with teams potentially travelling all over Europe with supporters, sponsors, match agents and corporate companies all looking to follow the respective teams on their European journey.
Euro 2020 takes the unique format of being hosted across Europe, taking the burden of hosting off one country. But what challenges does this represent to competing nations' travel plans?
The challenges will ultimately become better known when the draw takes place on 30th November. All of the qualified host countries are placed into the groups their stadium is allocated to, meaning that, if England qualify, they will automatically be put into Group D. Therefore, they'll play their group games at home. However, if a country is not one of the host nations, they'll have to play all of their games away. As an example, if a team gets drawn in Group A, they'll have to travel between Rome and Baku, which is a 7-10 hour flight with a stopover if you were to use a scheduled airline, whereas, if you were to fly via private group charter, you could fly directly to Baku's Heydar Aiyev International Airport.
With teams having games, on average, every four days, they are going to have to navigate potentially long flights to the host cities. Also, these airports will likely be saturated with thousands of travelling fans and normal scheduled traffic, meaning that it may be more appropriate to fly to smaller, local airports.
Despite the challenges, what opportunities does this format present?
In a footballing sense, it will be brilliant for European football and for fans, as it will allow countries that would not be able to host a tournament on their own, to experience being a host nation. This will revitalise European football and help develop smaller footballing nations like Azerbaijan.
For us, it means a busy period to fly teams, supporters, match agents, sponsors and corporates to the different host cities throughout the tournament. Due to a limited amount of scheduled flights between the cities and landing slots at those airports, clients will look to charter as we can access local airports where scheduled airlines do not fly.
How are Air Partner placed to manage the logistical challenges presented by this tournament?
We have offices across Europe situated near to where the host cities are located and have previously operated to each host city. This means there will always be someone on hand to deal with any issues our passengers may have and are familiar with every destination. We provide our customers with a dedicated Account Manager who works alongside our 24/7 operations team.
As well as this, we have multiple preferred partners with whom we fly with who are also based across Europe. This means that we can fly from any location within Europe to get you to the game on time.
How do you expect the tournament will impact fans? Are we likely to see a mass movement of travelling fans and why can charter flights be the best option?
During the tournament, some fans may have to travel to more places than others. We will be able to work with them to find a base that is a suitable distance between the different venues. This way, they will be able to fly on day stops to get to the game with enough time and then travel back to base. We have used this technique at previous tournaments, and it worked well for fans that have had to travel to multiple places.
Fans who are dedicated to travelling to every game may have difficulty travelling to each venue if they are to travel by scheduled airlines as there are limited flights into each airport, whereas, we can fly to smaller airports which allows access through a private terminal.
What did you learn from your experiences at previous global sports events that you have used to further improve your services for this tournament?
From organising charter to major global sporting events for over 55 years, we are used to flying large groups throughout tournaments.
With our most recent experience being the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we were able to learn from having to fly long distances across Russia. Yes, it is different flying between multiple host countries rather than cities, however, our travel recommendations remain relatively the same.
We would recommend that clients base themselves in a country or city that is pretty central to the games they want to go too. As you are away from the host city, it may mean that accommodation is cheaper than if you were to stay in Amsterdam for example. To get to the games, we can take clients there with a day stop, where they would come back to the base after the game. This is probably the most efficient way to travel around for Euro 2020.
Your dedicated Account Manager will be able to assist with planning where to base during the tournament that will allow easy travel to the games most important to you.
Travel comfort for teams will be of utmost importance with flight fatigue often being a problem for teams travelling long distances for games.
How can Air Partner ensure teams arrive at their destinations in the best condition ready for training and match play?
When chartering with Air Partner, we can ensure that everyone travels in full comfort by flying in our VIP configuration where all the seats are business class. Or we can offer alternatives where it is a full economy configuration. Also, as part of our ServicePLUS package, we can work with the team's nutritionist to offer food that is in line with the players' training regime and to keep them in top condition before the next game.
We offer exclusive and seamless travel experiences, working with like-minded partners to provide comprehensive private security and ground transportation services to enhance clients' travel.
Article as featured in FC Business.
Our specialist football charter division will be attending Soccerex Europe in Portugal from 5 - 6 September and we will be able to discuss any travel arrangements you may need for the upcoming Euro 2020 competition next June. Visit us on stand 130, book a meeting or contact us for a general enquiry.