Turkish Airlines A321
Türkiye Hava Yolları is a fan of Airbus' A321 aircraft - the carrier has 64 of the A321 in service. | © Wikimedia Commons

Turkish Airlines made a flight to Łódź, Poland, this week, for the first time in the carrier’s history. The carrier already flies to four Polish cities: Gdańsk, Krakow, Poznan and Warsaw. But circumstances involving the Ukraine war and a Champions League football match prompted a one-off visit to a fifth Polish destination. 

Champions League Prompts Unique Flight

This week, Istanbul’s Fenerbahçe SK was due to play Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. Usually, the teams would play two games to each play home and away. But the Russian Invasion meant that the Ukrainian team’s home match had to be moved to neighbouring Poland instead, generously hosted by the city of Łódź.

Turkish Airlines fly to Władysław Reymont Airport
Turkish Airlines fly to four destinations in Poland | © Nicolas Economou / Getty Images

Teams flew into the city’s Władysław Reymont Airport, making for some unique airline routes. The Dynamo Kyiv team arrived on Saturday, 16 July, on an Embraer E190 from Brussels, according to a post on the airport’s LinkedIn page. 

Fenerbahçe flew from Istanbul on a chartered Turkish airlines flight three days later, on the afternoon of Tuesday 19 July. The flight was operated by a Boeing 737-800 with the registration TC-JVR, one of 92 737-800s in Turkish’ fleet. The aircraft was laid out in a two-class configuration with 151 seats. 

Turkish Players Warmly Welcomed

Interestingly, the plane took off from Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, rather than Turkish Airline’s hub at Istanbul Airport. At the other end, players were met by an entourage of supporters. They “were warmly welcomed at Łódź Airport by the Ambassador of Turkey with his family, sports activists, and fans.”

Turkish Players were welcomed by fans in Łódź
Players were welcomed by fans in Łódź | Getty

The match, which took place on Wednesday, 20 July, was watched by 14,000 spectators and resulted in a nil-nil draw. The second leg will take place in Istanbul on 27 July, deciding the ultimate victor. It will be interesting to see if there are any more unusual flight arrangements as the tournament continues.

Have you spotted any unusual routes since the champions league? Let us know in the comments below!


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