Air charter company inundated with requests as World Cup throws up logistical nightmare.
As the World Cup arrives in Russia for the first time, the scale of the logistical challenges of moving the sheer number of people wanting to get to the games is daunting. Global aircraft specialist, Air Charter Service, has been seeing record demand for aircraft charters ahead of the big kick-off in June.
Group Director of Air Charter Service’s Commercial Jets division, Matthew Purton, comments: “Russia is a huge country and this is the first tournament since the USA hosted in 1994 that the stadia involved span four different time zones.
“As an example of the expanse, the distance between England’s last two group matches – in Nizhny Novgorod and Kaliningrad – is more than 1,000 miles and involves travelling across both Belarus and Lithuania, due to Kaliningrad’s isolated location.
“Tickets for the finals went on general sale last month and, across the 64 matches of the tournament and the 12 stadia involved, there could be a total of more than three million spectators at the games, and scheduled flights simply do not have the capacity to cope with the demand.
“With only Russian registered airlines currently being allowed to perform domestic charter flights in the country, this also drastically limits the choice of aircraft able to transport the fans and teams from their hotels and training bases to matches.
“ACS has two offices in Russia – one in Moscow and one in St. Petersburg – and since the group stage draw was made in December, we have been inundated with requests and bookings. For months now we have been busy putting people’s itineraries together, whether that be for supporter groups, sponsors, media, players’ families or football associations themselves.
“At some of the smaller airports involved over the summer, Russian speakers will be needed as the locals don’t speak enough English to help with the detailed requirements for such flight programmes. We will be sending some of our native experts to the airports to make sure everything runs smoothly.
“We have even booked some charters for our competitors, as our expertise and presence in Russia is second to none. The fact that our two local offices are Russian companies and we have a Russian bank account is also a huge bonus as it will mean easier transactions than those companies using dollars, euros or sterling.”