The qualifying tournament for the UEFA Euro 2024 is currently underway, with football teams traversing across Europe to compete in matches. With a jam-packed schedule, limited opportunities for adequate rest, and crucial games ahead, several football teams opt for private charter flights as their preferred mode of transportation.
Lukas Petrauskas, the CCO of KlasJet, a well-known exclusive private and corporate jet charter company, and an ACMI service provider, reports a significant surge in inquiries and bookings. “We have observed a 15% increase in demand for the UEFA qualifying season. National sports teams go for charter flights for numerous reasons, with service reliability being one of the most critical factors,” he says.
The summer season of 2022 posed severe challenges for the aviation industry, with Eurocontrol reporting that over 50% of all European flights experienced delays. “This was primarily due to the increased demand for air travel during the summer months coupled with staff shortages across the continent. Such delays and cancellations are simply not an option for sports teams, as being late or unprepared for a match can significantly impact their performance. Consequently, teams are already taking steps to prepare for the UEFA qualifying season by proactively booking their flights,” Petrauskas explains.
He notes that sports teams choose private charter flights not because of the luxury of it, but for the convenience. “Avoiding crowded airports, reducing wait times, creating custom flight schedules to meet their specific needs, and even the timing of flights can significantly impact athletes' physical and emotional well-being, which in turn affects their performance on the field.” Additionally, private charters offer the flexibility to select preferred destinations, eliminate layovers, reduce travel time, and minimise disruptions.
On the other hand, for professional athletes, travelling in comfort is also important. “There’s more space, comfortable seating, and ample room for sports equipment,” explains Petrauskas. Additionally, the entire flight experience can be tailored. This includes offering specialised catering to accommodate dietary requirements, options for rest and entertainment, and personalising the aircraft interiors to boost team spirit and motivation. “We can even facilitate post-game press conferences onboard the private jet if that's what our passengers need.”
To make sure athletes have the best possible experience, it's essential to know what they need when it comes to private charters. Petrauskas explains, “Over the years, we have gained ample experience, and know precisely what athletes require to be at the top of their game. For sports teams, travelling in comfort can be a significant motivator and if convenient flying can help them score a winning goal, then it's more than worth it.”