Confident England fans book private jets to Dubai for the final
Private jet companies in Dubai are doing a roaring trade from hopeful English football fans confident their team will make it to the World Cup final in Doha on December 18.
The luxury charters have been requested by fans in Dubai wanting to get in and out during the month-long tournament which begins on November 20.
ME Jets, a company operating out of Dubai World Central, offers a luxury experience for families, groups and individuals wishing to travel to Qatar in style.
At €1,750 (Dh6,500) the experience doesn’t come cheap, but that hasn’t deterred fans gripped by World Cup fever from snapping up seats, despite flight availability shopping for about a third of the price.
It is England supporters who seem the most confident of making it through to the final, with bookings for the 64-seat VIP plane on December 18 mostly taken by Three Lions fans.
“We sold the whole final flight, which is great, and three quarters for the semi-final flight,” said Amy Spicer, managing partner at ME Jets.
“Most of these bookings come from English fans, which surprised me quite a bit in case England didn’t reach the final.
“We think the price would suit the mid-range of people unable to afford or willing to pay for an exclusive private jet, but are willing to pay a little more for a more enjoyable experience.
“Starting from the private terminal, it will also be much faster.
“It seems a lot of people would like to go to the World Cup final for the experience, whether their country goes through or not.”
ME Jets has booked a Boeing 737, a 64-seat business class private plane, a 16-seat Global 6000 jet and an eight-seat Hawker 750 for same-day round-trip flights during the World Cup.
Daily flights will depart from DWC’s private Jetex FBO terminal.
Passengers can check in at a private terminal at Dubai South Airport and have access to a separate departure lounge
So far, most bookings have been made in groups of 15 or more.
Ms Spicer said England’s game against the United States was proving the most popular group game, with half of the flights sold out already.
Thomas Mold, a financial trader in Dubai, will fly to Doha to watch England play the United States with his father David and friend Luke Wilson.
“We all went to the Russia World Cup together, it was a great experience,” said Mr Mold, from Essex, who has lived in the United Arab Emirates for eight years.
“Due to the situation of the hotel, either not having enough rooms or being too expensive, it made sense to hop on a plane and come back.
“We are a big group. Of the approximately 63 people, I know at least 20 people there.
“The best thing is not to wait at the airport, it’s much more convenient because it’s so close. It’s great to have a World Cup on our doorstep.
The ME Jets flight will depart four hours before each kick-off and return three hours after the end of each game. Passengers should arrive at the departure terminal half an hour before flight departure.
Mr Mold has applied for tickets through the Fifa ballot and will join other England fans aboard the private charter for the game against the United States at Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday November 25.
Although he doesn’t have tickets for any more matches yet, he hopes to join the fans for the later stages of the tournament.
His father, meanwhile, has tickets to all three of England’s group matches and will be traveling by private jet for each.
“I will be based in Dubai with my son for as long as England are in the tournament and aim to be in every game,” West Ham United fan David Mold said.
“I’ve been to every tournament with England since 1990 in Italy, so I couldn’t miss Qatar.
“I have committed to a private jet for each of the group matches and the last 16 knockouts. It will be expensive but worth it, I’m sure.
High demand for flights
With commercial flights to Doha already booked despite an increase in schedules to keep up with demand, those who can afford it are considering an even more private travel option.
Travel data from industry specialists Sojern showed that flight bookings to Qatar during the tournament from across the Middle East have increased by more than 4,000% since the start of 2022.
Demand is also high in Europe, where a 400% spike since January has been recorded, with similar figures in Asia, Australasia and the Americas.
Jetex, another Dubai World Central-based private jet operator, has also seen growing demand for World Cup charters.
“Passengers clearly want the convenience of flying into Qatar, attending matches and then returning to Dubai afterwards,” said Oleg Kafarov, director of corporate communications at Jetex.
It will cost Dh240,000 to charter a private Jetex jet from Dubai to Doha for up to 10 passengers.
This includes use of all facilities, including a private lounge at the Jetex VIP terminal.
Private aircraft available include Falcon, Bombardier and Lear jets, depending on configuration and seating required.
“Passengers can choose what time they want to fly and return – they usually need to be at the terminal at least 15 minutes before departure, so it’s quite flexible,” Kafarov said.
“We don’t expect passengers to have a lot of luggage, so we expect it to be very easy.
“Demand is likely to increase for the semi-finals and the final, and we want to make sure we can manage passenger expectations, as there is a lot of interest.”
Updated: August 15, 2022, 02:01