Modern day sportsmen and women are no longer just competitors in their respective disciplines but also celebrities to boot. The media is awash with victorious photos of Venus Williams, uncompromising exposes on Usain Bolt and the intimate confessions of the somewhat infamous Lance Armstrong. They endorse everything from perfume to pants, sports cars to socks and all that fits in between. Modern day athletes have truly joined the elite world of the rich and famous and now, have a fleet of private jets to ferry them across the globe.
Recognised throughout the world, these modern day jet-setters regularly perform outside of their home nations and subsequently, they need a mode of transport befitting their status and fame. Most run-of-the-mill airlines struggle to accommodate a large entourage of trainers, medics, managers and of course, the athletes themselves. The increasing amount of sports equipment associated with any modern game also proves a problem when dealing with overzealous airport security and the ever present customs officials.
It seems then, that for athletes who are regularly travelling long distances, chartered flights are the only real option. Football fans will have recently seen the news reporting that Liverpool’s Luis Suarez will be given exclusive use of the club’s private jet in order to traverse the Atlantic to play internationally for his native Uruguay. The reason given by John W Henry, the club’s owner, is that the key striker often arrives back in Liverpool late and over-tired after a long-haul commercial flight.
Brazil is a big place. In fact, the fifth largest country in the world covers more than three million square miles taking in jungles, plains, mountain ranges and glorious beaches. It seems obvious then, that with the approaching 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the demand for private flights is set to rocket as the amount of athletes needing to get around quickly and securely explodes.
Some sources have predicted that the private jet industry is set to land a $700 million windfall from both athletes and fans looking to travel across the country. From Rio de Janeiro to Fortaleza and from Sao Paulo to Manuas, the itinerary of venues for the World Cup alone spans the length and breadth of this diverse nation. The greatest and most highly admired football teams in the world will all be travelling across Brazil with chartered flights – and many fans will follow suit.
The 2016 Olympic Games also looks set to become a profitable time for private aviation. Whilst the games themselves are to be held in and around Rio, many athletes looking for decent training facilities and, a little peace and quiet between competitions, will be flying both themselves and their equipment into the city by private jet. Hundreds of athletes will arrive from all around the world by the same mode of transport and thousands of sports fans will do exactly the same.
The next three years in Brazil will be filled with all the anticipation and excitement that comes with sporting events of such calibre. Thousands will witness the highs and lows, the winners and the losers of these internationally acclaimed events. The stadiums will be packed and, it seems, so too will the skies.