British Airways welcomed the 37-strong British & Irish Lions squad on board a special charter flight today, as they travelled from Edinburgh to Johannesburg for the start of their eagerly-awaited South African Tour.
Following their clash against Japan for The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup at BT Murrayfield Stadium yesterday, they were greeted with warm words of encouragement by the crew of flight BA9111, including their pilot Captain Richard Allen-Williams, British Airways' Chief Pilot, Training.
Enjoying the safety and comfort of a British Airways’ 777-300, the players were served with a selection of hot meals and snacks during the 11-hour 30-minute flight to ensure they arrive match fit and ready to take on all-comers.
The eight-game tour of South Africa will see the best players from the UK & Ireland pitted against the World Champions, the Springboks, during three Tests. The Lions and Springboks squads will both be carried across the country during the Tour by British Airways’ franchise partner, Comair.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “We are honoured to be flying The British & Irish Lions to South Africa ahead of their Tour. After a difficult year, we look forward to uniting the nation through sport and cheering them on. From everyone at British Airways, we wish them the best of luck and hope to carry them home as champions.”
Ben Calveley, Managing Director for The British & Irish Lions, said: “We are delighted to be flying with British Airways for the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series. We know the squad and management will receive a warm welcome from British Airways staff and enjoy a safe, comfortable journey to South Africa, landing in Johannesburg ready to take on the world champions.”
British Airways is also reinforcing its commitment to sport as the airline is currently the Principal Partner to Twickenham Stadium, Official Airline Partner to England Rugby and has been the Official Airline Partner to Team GB and Paralympics GB since 2008.