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Post Written by: Andrew Harreiter

Posted: 30/09/20

The global pandemic has caused the biggest disruption to worldwide sport since the Second World War.

High profile cancellations and postponements peaked when the Tokyo Olympic Games were deferred to 2021 – a target date that’s still hanging in the balance.

The Madrid Open, set for September 12th, has been cancelled. The Chicago Marathon, scheduled for October 11th, is also cancelled.

However, several major sporting events have been taking place since July, thanks to new measures put in place for the summer months allowing teams to travel. It meant that racing at Silverstone, international football, snooker and golf tournaments could go ahead – even if not quite as planned.

Some events have been taking place behind closed doors. The World Snooker Championship was intended to be one of the first sporting events to allow spectators during the pandemic – until the pilot scheme was cut after the first day of the tournament.

The majority of mainstream sports (like football, cricket and rugby in the UK, ice hockey and baseball in North America) have been going ahead as televised-only events – but some sporting calendars have been condensed. The Premier League and EFL Championship, Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Nations League are all running to tighter schedules – making efficient travel arrangements a top priority.

Air Charter for Sports Teams

The collapse of scheduled services, combined with the greater degree of control and reduced risk to athletes and staff afforded by aircraft charter makes it the go-to choice for top-tier teams and athletes.

Aircraft charter has always helped to make travel for sports teams more efficient – and now, it’s making travel safer, thanks to more reliable tracking and tracing measures, and more effective containment and distancing. Travel for sports teams has had to change in many ways to suit the situation we find ourselves in with COVID-19; so much so that the recent advice issued as part of UEFA’s Return to Play Protocol strongly recommends the use of air charter for sports teams.

Recent Flights

The use of aircraft charter has extended beyond football into just about every major sporting event – and we anticipate that charter for sports teams will grow throughout the year and into 2021, as a new normal is established.

For example, the UFC’s Fight Island event chartered planes to Abu Dhabi from Las Vegas and other strategic points around the world, including the UK. A strict testing and quarantine protocol was set up for fighters and factions, and a total of five tests per person were required on the island for the event to take place.

The Australian, West Indian and Pakistani cricket teams have all travelled to the UK by charter flight, to play England – and the Indian Premier League cricket teams recently flew to Dubai for IPL 2020 by chartered aircraft as well. Again, strict testing and quarantining have been part and parcel of travel for sports teams, but the events have so far effectively contained risk well.

Because of the successful containment that charter offers travelling sports teams, many more franchises are showing interest in aircraft charter. Efficient travel will become particularly important, as next year’s scheduled events (the Super Bowl, the Champions League and Europa League Finals, tennis Grand Slams and golfing majors) will be packed in with postponed fixtures from this year – including Euro 2020 and the Summer Olympics.

Keeping Safe on Chartered Sports Team Flights

Chartered flights can offer specific benefits to sports teams that need to travel together during the coronavirus pandemic.

The greatest benefit to charter for sports teams in the current climate is the enhanced social distancing it offers, both in-flight and on the ground.

Wherever possible, private terminals are created in conjunction with airport authorities. Not only do these provide expedited check-in and security, they allow for much tighter social distancing and hygiene measures. Temperature checks, if required at the origin and destination, can be turned around far quicker, too. On board, more cabin space allows individuals to more effectively distance themselves from one another, minimising contact and the potential to transmit coronavirus. Less contact with others throughout the process also makes tracking and tracing far simpler and more effective.

Cleaning procedures on chartered aircraft are also being elevated to combat COVID-19. While scheduled flights have made improvements, the turnaround time is still generally much faster than a privately chartered flight. With more time to clean, chartered aircraft can be disinfected and deep cleaned to an extremely thorough standard – ensuring peace of mind when travelling.

We handpick aircraft that best suit teams and their equipment, ensuring that coaching and support staff can travel safely alongside the athletes. Specified catering can be prepared for optimum pre and post match nutrition, in the unrivalled comfort of a privately chartered aircraft.

Keep Sport Moving through COVID-19

ACC has decades of experience in charter flights for sports teams, helping athletes and support crew get to matches rested and ready to perform.

Get a quote now or call +44 (0) 1737 232 230.