5,000 fans follow Les Bleus to Ireland
During the Six Nations in 2017, two of France’s largest sports tour operators got in touch with an unprecedented challenge to get 5,000 rugby fans to Dublin to cheer on Les Bleus against Ireland. We needed to get 5,000 rugby fans from Nantes, Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon and Grenoble to Dublin, but with scheduled flights either not frequent enough or non-existent, chartering was the only option. Having worked with ACS before, they knew they could trust us to get everyone there in time and on budget.
For such a large number of passengers, the best aircraft for the job would be Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. As well as being cost-efficient, both airliners would able to achieve quick turnaround to perform several rotations in the same day.
Our team quickly got to work finding available aircraft, focusing on French operators to keep costs down. Thanks to long-standing relationships with our airline partners, the account manager was able to negotiate discounted rates and keep costs under €330 return per passenger. The team then set about securing slots for the 30 flights, arranging ground handling and finalising passenger lists. Within 15 days, all the logistics were in place and the fans were ready for the off.
The next challenge though would be ensuring all 5,000 excited fans made their flights. To avoid delays on the way out, our Parisian team arranged for reps to greet travellers at the airport and help them through check-in and onto their flights to Dublin. After seven smooth departures, everyone arrived on time the day before the match, and set about soaking up the Irish atmosphere.
Unfortunately for the French, despite an early lead and the best efforts of Les Bleus, Ireland managed to make a comeback and beat them 19-9. And so it was a subdued crowd who were seen off by an ACS rep at Dublin airport the following day. By 9pm the final flight had touched down back in France, marking a successful end to our sporting challenge.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
As well as special catering requests, the ACS team dealt with specific seating arrangements as some of the group wanted to be seated together and tour leaders had to be in the front seat section. The ACS team liaised with ground staff and crew to ensure this was achieved, resulting in everyone relaxing in comfort on board.
THE EXTRA MILE
Since it was one of our biggest ever operations, there was no room for even the slightest slip-up. That’s why we arrange ACMI cover across the board, so even if an aircraft was grounded, the fans would still make the big match.