As Rugby World Cup fever subsides, Air Partner has revealed that it was the appointed air carrier for all teams travelling between stadiums in France, Wales and Scotland.A total of 41 flights were operated in the six weeks between August 30 and October 8 to move 2,000 of the world’s top rugby professionals (and their equipment) between matches.
Six different aircraft types, including Boeing 737s and Fokker 100s, carried an average of 50 players and staff at a time to and from 13 different airports. Of these, eight were in France (Saint Etienne, Saint Nazaire, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpelier, Lyon, Paris and Toulouse) and five involved other European destinations in Portugal, Italy, the Republic of Ireland and the UK (Lisbon, Rome, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin).
The contract to fly the teams was won 18 months prior to the start of the competition when Air Partner fought off strong competition, once again demonstrating the company’s ability and strength at organising transportation for the sports industry.
When England reached the Final last Saturday, the Private Jets team at the company’s London Gatwick headquarters organised more than 20 last-minute flights for small groups of supporters desperate to get to the match. Many of the flights, most of which were back-to-back same day returns, were operated on the company’s managed Learjet 45s.
With demand for private jets at a premium during the Rugby World Cup period, Air Partner’s network of contacts and ability to secure additional aircraft at short notice gave it a leading edge throughout the tournament. Many flights on small cabin aircraft, such as the Citationjet, operated into the small local airports of Pontoise, Le Castellet and Le Bourget for some of the earlier matches, enabling clients to avoid congestion and formalities at larger hubs.
Air Partner’s Commercial Jets division was also kept busy throughout the period, particularly by event companies working on behalf of corporate financial institutions.