Due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, air traffic in Austria is currently more severely affected than ever before, so this autumn the football charter for our domestic European Cup starters will provide a change at some airports. We look behind the cabin door of the flights of our domestic football clubs for you.
A report by Michael David
A few years ago, domestic football was seen as a gray mouse on the European football floor, and longer European Cup trips to individual football clubs such as Austria Salzburg, Rapid or Sturm Graz were celebrated accordingly. At that time people mainly trusted in the usual flight products from Austrian or Lauda Air. It will probably remain an eternal myth from this time that on some return flights after away games of domestic soccer clubs the drinks carts in the aircraft cabin were regularly emptied - regardless of how the game actually ended was.
As much as Austrian football and the performance of domestic football professionals have improved since then, the flight habits of football clubs have also changed. “We have learned a lot,” confirms LASK President Siegmund Gruber. Like the traditional club from Linz, FC Red Bull Salzburg, Rapid Vienna and Wolfsberger AC from Carinthia are playing more than ever in the group stages of the Europa League and even the Champions League in the current European Cup season. They duel with top European clubs such as the current Champions League winners FC Bayern Munich, the two Premier League top clubs from London, Arsenal and Tottenham or Atletico Madrid or Feyenoord Rotterdam. Accordingly, LASK and FC Red Bull Salzburg no longer use conventional charter machines for their away games with their group opponents, but now rely on tailor-made VIP solutions, while WAC makes its trips with Croatian Trade Air.
FC Red Bull Salzburg currently relies on the services of Air X Charter, whose Boeing 737-500s are equipped with 54 luxurious leather seats
In its first European Cup season after its brilliant rise, LASK flew with smaller regional planes to its games in Norway and Turkey, chartered through an airline brooker. In the following year, the smooth organization of the away trips, which at least led to Manchester in the sixteenth finals of the Europa League, was left to a local travel agency with excellent contacts in the aviation industry. Suddenly you no longer flew with a 50-seat aircraft, but with a Boeing 737-800. The general environment of the club has developed just as professionally and purposefully in the last 3 years, so when it comes to travel organization, the focus was on a completely new, international quality: with Aero X, the club's own head of VIP support founded his own travel agency, which now includes all LASK plans trips down to the last detail.
Insight into the VIP-configured cabin of a Boeing 737-500 from AirXCharter
For some time now, FC Red Bull Salzburg has also had its international trips handled by a closely related travel agency. The travel agency “Travel Birds” is not only sitting next door to the Wings for Life Foundation in Salzburg's old town, managing director and travel expert Marion Feichtner is also the partner of Red Bull boss Didi Mateschitz. Thus, the soccer club from Salzburg, like other parts of the beverage group's environment, can fall back on the relevant know-how in the travel industry. The first highlight of the travel company, which was only founded in 2019, will remain unforgettable, the organization and implementation of fan flights with the supporters of the “cops” in October 2019 for the legendary away game against Liverpool FC. In addition, two Air Caraibes A330s were chartered, also as an absolute treat for numerous domestic plane spotters. 800 fans could thus be brought from Linz to the stadium on Anfield Road, including perfect organization in the appropriate Red Bull flair.
A perfect organization of such football flights is probably just as important as the preparation of the team for the opponent for the coaching team. For example, flights with VIP-configured aircraft from relevant airlines such as Air X Charter, Maleth Aero or 2Excel Aviation enable detailed travel planning before and during the flight. “With charter airlines, it is not always possible to intervene in the choice of food and drink,” reveals an insider, “especially when products are sold that are not from the club sponsor but from a competitor”. However, on its trip to the play-off game of the Europa League in Lisbon, LASK was able to show that this is only a small component for perfect travel organization. In order to enable midfielder James Holland to play an important game at the Estadio Jose Alvalade after an injury to the ankle in the Bundesliga game, the generous configuration of the Boeing 737 made it possible for the player to be treated intensively by the physio team during the flight . Holland could not only play the full 90 minutes, in the 4-1 victory of LASK he shone with a top performance.
This Europa League season, Maleth-Aero is managing the flights for LASK to Tottenham in London, Royal Antwerp and Ludogorets Razgrad in Varna by
However, the most important thing on such flights with soccer teams is certainly a meticulously planned time management. While on conventional charter flights one is very often dependent on the standardized processes in the airports, trips with a private jet-like basis very often allow significant advantages, such as a greatly reduced arrival and departure time, right up to picking up the players with the team bus directly in front of them the plane. This also guarantees the coaching team that the daily routines for the team can be planned accordingly before and after the game. This enables the team to arrive the day before the final training session in the stadium immediately after the outward flight, while the team entrusted with organizational tasks makes initial preparations for the team in the hotel. The departure after a game is made according to a large number of different parameters, but usually a return journey directly after the final whistle is dispensed with for regenerative reasons.
In the coming weeks, numerous special flights for soccer teams at domestic airports will provide an extremely welcome change from the winter business, which is currently badly shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic. FC Red Bull Salzburg will play their away game in the Champions League against Lokomotiv Moscow on December 01.12.2020st, 25.11.2020, and the week afterwards the “Bulls” will receive Atletico Madrid. The team from Royal Antwerp is expected in Linz on November 09.12.2020, 03.12 and, at the end of the group, the Tottenham Hotspurs star team around Harry Kane, Gareth Bale and start coach Jose Mourinho, LASK itself will take off for Bulgaria on December XNUMX, XNUMX. At SK Rapid Wien, the two away games against Irish club Dundalk and Arsenal London are on the agenda, and Molde from Norway will be hosted on the last matchday. The WAC will contest on December XNUMXrd. his away game in Moscow with a corresponding special charter flight from Klagenfurt, a week later Feyenoord Rotterdam will fly into Carinthia.
But not only the club level ensures an interesting number of flights, the ÖFB national team will travel to Luxembourg in the next few days. This time the U21 national team will cede their trip to the away game in Turkey from Linz with Freebird Airlines. In Styria, training camps for the national teams of Japan, Panama, South Korea, Qatar, Costa Rica, Mexico and the USA also ensure increased flight and urgently needed passenger numbers at Graz Airport.
You can get an overview of current football charter in the forum of Austrianaviation.at