The Node

Sports and business aviation: the perfect match

20 Feb 2018

For those with a passion for sports and places to be, flying private is the perfect way to glide into a city just in time for the kick-off. Beyond providing visiting fans an enjoyable experience from start to finish, these are some of the many ways we see sports and business aviation working in perfect harmony.

There’s nothing like the excitement of being in a stadium of thousands of ardent fans. The suspense, the noise, the passion! Elbowing past these thousands of fans in clogged airports, however… is not an ideal way to enjoy one’s favorite sporting event. 

This fact is a great boon for the business aviation industry. For those with a passion for sports and places to be, flying private is the perfect way to glide into a city just in time for the kick-off. 

Beyond providing visiting fans an enjoyable experience from start to finish, these are some of the many ways we see sports and business aviation working in perfect harmony. 

Surges in traffic

As the world gears up for the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer, we can look back at the bizav statistics from the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France for an exciting glimpse of what’s ahead. Our data here at Avinode reveals there were 100 times as many requests to fly to Marseille – just one of the tournament’s 10 host cities – for the opening weekend of the championships on June 10-11, 2016 compared to the same dates the previous year. 

And as we congratulate the Philadelphia Eagles on their extraordinary Super Bowl triumph on February 4th this year, let’s reflect on another impressive statistic from our database: requests to fly private to Minneapolis on the week of the Super Bowl were 35 times higher than in a typical week during the past year. 

Early bookings

The drawing for the 2018 FIFA World Cup was performed on December 1, 2017: 195 days before the first match on June 14, 2018 (where the hosts Russia will face Saudi Arabia). Some tickets were made available starting September 14, 2017, and soccer fans around the world have been frantically trying to secure tickets in addition to making their travel plans. By January 31st this year, 10 times as many requests had been made through Avinode for Russia-bound flights, compared to the same period last year. With so much business aviation typically taking place on short notice, advance bookings are a welcome opportunity to plan ahead confidently and efficiently. 

Welcoming new users to bizav

Music executives had been trying for years to bring opera superstars Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras and Plácido Domingo together on stage… without success. Only when the three men were all in Italy anyway – to watch the 1990 FIFA World Cup – did the legendary ‘Three Tenors’ concert take place in Rome. A passion for sports brings remarkable people together in remarkable ways. And sporting events also bring people to business aviation who may never have flown privately for work but who desperately want to see the Philadelphia Eagles or California’s Golden State Warriors or FC Barcelona. Once those people have experienced the luxury of a private jet wearing their sports jerseys, they’ll come back again in their suits. 

Thriving corporate hospitality 

Speaking of ‘The Three Tenors’ unexpectedly joining forces, it’s amazing how many business relationships ignite when people meet in hospitality suites at sporting events. The relaxed environment facilitates ideas and partnerships that might have felt impossible in stress-filled boardrooms. And the powerful people who make these deals often fly in business jets. 

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will undoubtedly be the biggest sporting event of the year but here are three more unmissable dates your clients will be looking out for: the Kentucky Derby horse race in Louisville (May 5); the French Open tennis tournament in Paris (May 27-June 10); and the Ryder Cup golf tournament, also in Paris (September 28-30). 

All the signs suggest 2018 is going to be a fantastic year for sports, so expect another strong year for business aviation too!

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