Private Jets In Big Demand For European Championships

Demand for private jets to fly to Poland and Ukraine over the next week has soared now that the Euro 2012 football tournament has moved into the knockout stages.

With the jockeying and tactical manoeuvring of the group stages now resolved, the promise of the increased excitement that the knockout rounds will bring has fired the imagination of those football fans whose teams are still alive in the tournament.

Avolus, a company that provides private aviation and VIP transport worldwide, is one company that is benefiting from the increased enquiries. It has carried out research that shows that 80.5 percent of all business flights last month, from the 16 countries that qualified for the finals, were accounted for by seven of those countries that remain in the tournament. In May this year, of the 1,423 business flights attributable to the 16 countries that started the tournament, 1,145.7 were attributable to countries that are to compete the competition’s latter stages. France, Germany, England, Spain and Italy chartered the largest numbers of flights.

CEO and founder of Avolus, Alexis Grabar, said, ‘Some of the English football players’ partners who have flown to the Euro 2012 finals by private jet are not the only ones travelling to the tournament this way. A number of clients have chartered private jets to do this, and we expect a significant increase in this part of our business as the competition progresses. From a private jet perspective, the industry would probably hope for a France vs. Germany final as these two countries have the largest number of business flights.’

Of the countries still left in the tournament, France topped the business flights list last month with 326.9, Germany recorded 292.9, and England was third with 197.9.

Avolus provides a full range of private jet services worldwide for charter, and completes the service by providing helicopter and limousine transfers.

Ukraine: A Football Fan’s Travel Guide

With the start of the UEFA Euro 2012 football championship now only six weeks away, England supporters will be anticipating their team’s opening game against France in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Monday June 11. But how prepared are travelling fans for navigating around a country that is not yet a regular tourist destination?

Those supporters intending to stay in Ukraine, at least for the duration of England’s three group-stage matches, will have to contend with a serious amount of travelling within a country that is close to two and a half times larger than the UK. The second England game is against Sweden in the Olimpiysky Stadium, Kiev, on June 15. Kiev is 369 miles from Donetsk, but it is a journey that ardent supporters will have to make twice, as they must return to the Donbass Stadium, Donetsk for the final group game against the home nation on June 19.

There are several options for travelling between Donetsk, a city in the west of the country that owes much of its development to the mining industry, and Kiev, the country’s centrally located capital. Rail is an obvious choice that offers a relatively comfortable and cost effective means of travel, but has a typical overnight journey time of twelve hours. The ticket price, one way, is approximately £38 for second class. A high-speed train was due to be operating in time for the championships, cutting the journey time to five and a half hours, but there currently appears to be no format available for booking this.

Another cheap option is to take one of the frequent bus services between the cities at less than £20 one-way, but again, be prepared to sit back and enjoy the scenery with a journey time that is also likely to take twelve hours or more. There are regular flights between the cities but they are considerably more expensive and seats could be difficult to come by at this late stage.

Driving between the cities, either in a rental car picked up on arrival or your own car if you have decided to bite the bullet and drive across most of Europe, is an option with plenty of pros and cons. On the plus side, you can sample more of the ‘real’ Ukraine by travelling across country at your own pace, and accommodation in towns that are a distance away from the championship venues is almost certain to be less expensive. However, on the down side, the standard of some of the country’s roads is poor to say the least, while the city roads are congested, and populated by motorists that drive with a ‘spirit of adventure’ that make them not for the faint-hearted. Also, while experiencing Ukraine’s backwaters might provide you with more of an insight into an intriguing country that few of your social group are likely to have visited, it is worth remembering that once away from the major cities you will be exposed to locals whose inexperience with tourists is likely to make them suspicious, off-hand, or even downright rude. Non-white visitors in particular could find a level of prejudice in some quarters that they would be unlikely ever to experience in Western Europe. And on the subject of personal security, whether in a major city or a smaller town, try to avoid flashing expensive jewellery or wads of money, Ukraine is still a relatively poor country and being seen as a rich Westerner will not earn you any more respect and could make you a target for scammers and thieves.

Basic medical facilities in Ukraine are not to Western European standards, either in the proficiency of medical staff, or in terms of facilities and equipment. Should you need medical attention while visiting the country you will be best served at one of the Private Clinics. These tend to cater for Ukraine’s middle class, so you will have to pay for the care that you receive, keep the receipts and make a claim on your travel insurance on your return.

By applying some pre-planning and common sense, experiencing a football tournament in Ukraine should certainly provide for a more memorable event than those hosted by nations that we are more familiar with . If England progress past the group stage, possibilities open up for travel to other cities in Ukraine or into Poland, all the way to the final in…but this is England that we are talking about, so perhaps we should take one step at a time!

Colin Gibson

Introduction of Ryanair May Lower Ukraine Hotel Prices for UEFA Championship

Hotel prices in Ukraine are expected to fall for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, with the introduction of Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, said the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister, Borys Kolesnikov.

Ukraine is hosting the UEFA Football Championships, along with Poland, from June 8 to July 1, 2012. Ryanair intends to offer services to the Ukrainian cities of Lviv and Donetsk from its hub in France from May 2012. Fans will able to attend matches with Ryanair on a round-trip basis, removing the need to pay for hotel accommodation, and it is expected that hotel room rates will come down in price due to the decreased demand.

In an interview, Ukrainian minister, Borys Kolesnikov, said, ‘I think that this problem will be resolved by the end of April. First, we are completing an agreement with Ryanair on its entry to the Ukrainian market, and all fans will be able to calculate the cost of a flight for every match and stay in Ukraine. And the price will be in favour of aviation. I think that price will significantly fall from that moment. It takes three-and-a-half hours to fly from London to Donetsk, and a round-trip ticket will cost $300. England will play three group stage matches in Ukraine. That is, total expenditures would be $900, if you just fly for every match. If the price of a hotel room costs more than $200, then it would be a lot more expensive to live here for ten days. I think that this will quickly cool the ardour of our hotels.’

Earlier, reports have said that UEFA president and former footballer, Michel Platini, has expressed his concern at high prices for accommodation at Ukrainian hotels during the Euro 2012 European Football Championship.

Krakow soars in popularity for stag do’s

Demand for Krakow stag weekend packages has soared in recent months as football fans from across the UK look to tie their stag weekends to the forthcoming Euro 2012 tournament, with the England and Dutch teams confirmed to be using the city as a base during the games.

Managing Director of the Stag Company Rob Hill explained that whilst Krakow has always been one of the organisation’s most popular destinations, the demand in light of the summer tournament has been unprecedented.

“The majority of our customers love football and even those who don’t are keen to experience the same kind of ambience that was in evidence at the 2006 World Cup, with outdoor beer tents and sausage vendors and a great atmosphere all around. People are getting excited about the concept of a Krakow stag do in the summer,” he states.

The Brighton based organisation promotes sporting activities in and around the Polish city perhaps more so than other locations on offer, with white water rafting and clay pigeon shooting on offer. Hill senses that this mix has appealed further to those seeking an active Krakow stag weekend to tie in with the Euros.

“Absolutely. Our groups have expressed an interest in going white water rafting or paint-balling in the morning and then relaxing back in the city with some beers and watching the football on big screens in the afternoon. Then at night they are able to go to a casino, nightclub or on one of our guided bar crawls.”

The Stag Company are also actively promoting trips to another Polish city, Wroclaw, in the run up to June and are seeking to add 5-a-side football matches as an activity in these locations. They currently do so in a number of European destinations, including Barcelona and Prague.

The Stag Company offer custom-made stag weekends in approximately 80 locations across the UK and Europe and was founded in 2003. They are based in Brighton, Sussex.