Everyone knows that international sporting events are big business for host country airports and the wider aviation market. But what is not often reported is that they can also put a terrible strain on relationships.
Insider has a friend (a man with children and commercial responsibilities, mind) who spent a whole week during the recent Euro championships watching games of football.
No, not on his sofa at home. He and a group of “associates” watched seven matches in seven different European countries. Not at the stadiums but in pubs and bars in countries that did not host any of the games. Is he quite mad?
The conversation announcing this trip between him and his wife would have been interesting for starters.
- I am going away for a week without you.
- This is purely for pleasure nothing to do with business
- I will be watching football
- In pubs
- But not in England
- Will you pick me up from the airport as I will probably be quite tired?
Perhaps there is a kind of male sporting madness that coincides with these big tournaments. The kind that sees money and time as never too big a hurdle. I pondered this further on reading a news release that blew over the Airport Focus desk when the Euros were reaching fever pitch across the Channel.
The release was from private jet charter company Magnus Aviation who cheerily informed us that the cost of flights to Lyon had soared due to an increase in demand ahead of the impending European Championship semi-final in which Wales played Portugal.
But listen, football fans this is not a game-over situation, the release continued. The price of commercial flights has increased so dramatically that it means it would only cost between £700 to £950 more per person to charter a direct private jet from Cardiff Airport to Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport for the game.
And think of the perks of private travel, which include “an hour and a half journey time, champagne, an open bar, light snacks and VIP catering. Football-goers would need to travel in a group of nine.” The full cost of chartering a nine-seater would be approximately £14,500 from Cardiff and £13,400 from Luton.
Whereas research by the company had shown that the cheapest return flights from Cardiff airport to the city ranged from £650 to £900, with no direct flights available between the two airports. These flights can take between six and 21 hours due to the stopover, it added.
James Armstrong, Head of Commercial Development at Magnus Aviation said: “Our research shows what it would cost fans for them to charter a private jet with a group of friends or colleagues and have the VIP experience of supporting their team.”
That evening the conversation in the Insider household went roughly as follows:
- So you are telling me you want to travel to Lyon with nine “colleagues” to watch a game of football
- On a private jet
- Which will only cost you £950 more than a regular commercial flight.
- But I should consider the champagne and other VIP services which make it outstanding value
- You are not even Welsh
Bad idea? Yep, I thought so. But that private jet thing, I must try it one day.