Manchester, Friday, May 21, 1999: British Airways Concorde will lead Manchester United out to Barcelona in their bid for a unique Treble triumph with victory in the European Cup final.
The flagship of the world’s favourite airline fleet will carry the English Premier League champions to the final leg of their dream season for the showdown with Bayern Munich on Wednesday night at the Nou Camp Stadium.
British Airways offered the team supersonic flights to Barcelona and back, as part of the airline’s commitment to the best of British.
Alex Ferguson’s team will be flying from London Heathrow on Monday afternoon, after the second leg of their triple-chasing finals, Saturday’s FA Cup Final against Newcastle at Wembley on Saturday.
However, with almost 250 wives, girlfriends, family, club directors and others joining the squad for the return trip and United’s travel organisers keen that they all travel home together, the 100-seater Concorde could not offer the required capacity for the return to Manchester.
Bob Ayling, the airline’s Chief Executive, said: “The Reds have had a fantastic season. As a Chelsea supporter and with big British Airways units at both Manchester and Newcastle, I’ll be sitting on the fence on Saturday. But we are right behind United as they go for glory in Barcelona to crown what would be a unique season for any British soccer team.
“After their Premier League triumph last weekend and their Wembley FA Cup final tomorrow, we felt flying on our flagship was the only way they should travel on their way to the biggest match in British club football for many years. We’ll be proud to have them on board.”
Flight BA9044 is scheduled to leave Heathrow at 3.30 pm on Monday, from British Airways’ Engineering Base at Hatton Cross. The squad will travel there by coach after checking in privately at a hotel near Heathrow. Bob Ayling will be among the airline’s football fans to wave them off.