The thousands of fans who are passing through Belfast International Airport on their way to France for Euro 2016 have been praised for their ‘good humour, banter and great sense of fun’.
The airport’s Business Development Director, Uel Hoey, was present for the big ‘airlift’ on Sunday morning when almost 1,000 fans filled four charters.
On top of that, hundreds of other fans travelled to Gatwick on easyJet and Ryanair and made their way from there to Nice for the first of matches.
A similar exodus is expected on Thursday for the game against Ukraine in Lyon. And five charters are booked for Paris for the clash against Germany.
Uel said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. Northern Ireland’s loyal fan base, young and old alike, could teach others a thing or two about good behaviour.
“They were exemplary. They were laughing and joking with staff as they made their way to their Departure Gates and I have to say were a real pleasure to deal with on both the outbound and return flights.
“Unfortunately, the result against Poland didn’t go Northern Ireland’s way but that didn’t change one bit the way the fans conducted themselves. They were courteous throughout and focused on giving the team 100% support, and having a bit of craic at the same time.
“We did our bit to create the right atmosphere for the fans with banners and our branded staircase. Families stopped at the foot of the stairs to have photographs taken and remarked on how good it looked.
“We were delighted with the way Sunday went and have every reason to believe Thursday (Lyon), and then the following Tuesday (Paris) will go the same way. Here’s hoping for two great performances!”