Rangers-Deft teen pilots to fly Gers fans to Europa League final in private jet used by Cristiano Ronaldo
A teenage pilot and diehard Rangers fan will help fly 56 of his fellow supporters to Seville in the private jet used by Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Johnny Faulkner, 19, will be in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 VIP plane departing Prestwick Airport on Wednesday for the Europa League final.
A fully qualified commercial pilot and lifelong Gers supporter has embarked on a journey of dreams after helping a luxury charter firm fly a £2000-a-seat flight.
Johnny of Eyre said: “I can’t believe I get to do this – it’s like a dream come true.
“I’ve been a Rangers fan my whole life and I go to games with my granddad at Ibrox, so it’s incredible to be a part of it.
“My job is flying small planes around Europe. I will not be the pilot in this operation but I will be in the jumpseat in the cockpit.
“This is going to be the trip of a lifetime, with two things that I absolutely love – Rangers and flying.
“The only thing I can imagine is to bring the team back home with the trophy.”
Johnny, who took a job as a pilot with Prestwick-based Spin Aviation after completing two years of training in the US, said: “The phone went off as soon as we put up a notice for the flight on social media. We could have filled the plane twice.
“I don’t have a ticket or anything, but I’ll just go out and watch the game there and then we’ll fly back the next day.”
The 56-seat private jet is often used to fly top English sides to European fixtures including Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Ronaldo, Andy Robertson and Mo Salah have all been passengers.
Charter firm Oryx Jets usually operates from the south of England, but has joined forces with Spin Aviation to arrange Rangers’ flight.
A Spin spokesperson said: “The airlines are charging £1500 for an economy ticket, so £500 more including food, drinks and a luxury seat for a private jet is a great deal.
“Johnny is a brilliant pilot and regularly runs operations throughout the UK and in Spain and Switzerland.”
Fans lucky enough to snag tickets will be among 100,000 expected to travel from Scotland to Seville for Wednesday night’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt.
At least 100,000 German supporters will also descend on the Andalusian city for a fixture that could see Rangers lift their first European trophy in 50 years.
Thousands of fans are scrambling for flights and hotel accommodations, causing prices to skyrocket.
Tickets for the match were available for sale online last night for up to £3750.
Seville sees arrival for the first time
Scotland in 33C heat tomorrow. Mayor Antonio Muoz has designated more than 10 centers for fans, including Plaza San Francisco and Puerta de Jerez.
Supporters will be able to lift a replica inflatable trophy on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the Plaza de Espaa – considered a “neutral fan zone”.
With live music, two inflatable football pitches and a robotic goalkeeper to be challenged in a penalty shootout, it will be one of the city’s larger party areas and can seat up to 4,000 people. The sun-kissed city is already packed with tourists.
Horse-drawn carriages are a common sight and there are places to eat and drink on every corner.
Fans without a ticket should be able to watch it on screen at the city’s 60,000-capacity La Cartuja Stadium, where Celtic participated in the 2003 UEFA Cup Final.
However, there have been reports of fans having problems getting tickets for the venue. Marina San Miguel Navas, UEFA Licensing Manager for the Royal Spanish Football Federations, said: “Two fan meeting points have been arranged within the city center for mobility reasons and with supporter liaison officers to guide fans to the stadium through routes. Shared with. Determined by Police.
“All the details will be shared in one sheet, which will be handed out around the area.” 10,000 Rangers fans lucky enough to have tickets to the match can watch Giovanni van Bronkhorst’s men lift the Ibrox club’s first European trophy in 50 years at the 43,000-capacity Ramon Sánchez Pizzuan Stadium.
Seville FC supporters will welcome the Rangers contingent.
His club has strong Scottish roots, having been founded in 1890 on Burns Night
With the Scots as captain and chairman.
Francisco Javier Terenti Sánchez of Sevilla FC’s history department, who will host the final at his stadium, has spoken about his club’s pride.
He said: “Sevilla FC is extremely proud that a Scottish club, Rangers FC, is going to play the UEFA Europa League Final at our stadium. We are extremely proud to host Rangers FC at our home.
“The Rangers victory will be a new tribute to the history of our clubs, Rangers FC and Sevilla FC, and the close ties between Glasgow and Sevilla (Seville) through football.
“Beyond the close relationship between Scotland and the founding of Sevilla FC in 1890, there is also a conflict between our club and Rangers FC in the old European Cup Winners’ Cup, which took place in 1962.
“Thanks to that historic struggle, Rangers FC are one of the European clubs to be represented in the monumental mosaic of the Ramón-Sánchez Pizzuan Stadium, one of the most photographed works of art in our city.”
Don’t miss the latest news from Scotland and beyond – sign up for our daily newsletter here.
News From www.dailyrecord.co.uk