Hundreds take ‘stairway to heaven’ as Euro 2016 kicks off

11 Jun 2016

It’s been re-named the ‘stairway to heaven' ....

Hundreds of passionate Northern Ireland football fans will take the branded stairs as they head to departure gates at Belfast International Airport early on Sunday morning en route to France for Euro 16.

The advance party of the ‘Green and White Army’ is already in Nice. Hundreds more, in fact 860 in total, will board four charters flights – the first wave of the ‘airlift’ on a total of fourteen charters.

The airport has left no stone unturned for the exodus to Nice, Lyon and Paris for the games against Poland, Ukraine and Germany.

In the check-in hall, there are banners expressing support for the Northern Ireland team. In the ‘core’ – the open area where the stairs and escalators are located – there are huge wall banners doing the same. 

But it’s the specially decorated stairs on the way to Central Search that takes takes the biscuit.

From the bottom to the top, the branded ‘Good Luck Northern Ireland’ message with #DaretoDream has come in for plenty of praise from passengers. 

To borrow a line from Led Zeppelin, for the 3,000 or so fans who’ve booked seats on the charters, and the thousands of other fans who’ve taken scheduled services to the Continent, the stairs have become their ‘stairway to heaven’ as they go in search of footballing glory.

Belfast International Airport Operations Director, Alan Whiteside, says the airport has gone the extra miles for fans.

Alan says: “Not only have we done the ‘stairway to heaven’ but we’ve branded extensively  to show our support.

“Once airside, there’s a specially created fan zone with a giant tv screen and seating. Next week, we will do it all again for the 987 heading to Lyon and a week after that, we’ll see almost 1,000 fans coming through to board five charters to Paris.

“Our summer rush has started early which means a lot of us will miss going to the games. But the team, squad and fans have our best wishes for the tournament.”

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