As soon as Eric Dier converted ‘that’ penalty, the rush for quarter final tickets began. But, with no direct flights to Samar from the UK, England fans faced a battle to get to the city in time for the match.
East Midlands Airport has come to the rescue. Thanks to its unrestricted night-time operations, a direct flight to Samara will depart from the airport at 02:00 on Saturday 7 July.
The airport’s location at the heart of the country – 90% of the population of England and Wales are within a four-hour drive – means that EMA is within reach for fans from all over the country.
Located over 1000 km to south-east of Moscow (by road), a flight from EMA will take five hours and, with the three-hour time difference, fans will arrive at 10am – in time for a leisurely late breakfast.
The 102 seat Oryx B737-500 has been chartered by Sport Options Ltd. Samara is a large city at the centre of the Volga economic region and the capital of the Samara region. It’s situated on the left bank of the Volga River, at the confluence with the Samara River (hence the name of the city). It is a major economic, transport, scientific, educational, and cultural centre of the country. The city is hosting six World Cup matches.
Conan Busby, EMA’s Aviation Development Manager, has been liaising with Sport Options Ltd. to arrange the flight. He said: “I’m delighted that we’re able to accommodate this flight and provide England fans with an opportunity to see what could be a momentous match. As the UK’s busiest pure cargo airport, we have a 24-hour operation including flights throughout the night. Therefore, we’ve been able to slot a one-off passenger flight into the busy cargo schedule.”
The flight is expected to arrive back in the UK at 03:00 local time on Sunday 8 July.