While the second round of qualifying matches for the UEFA Champions League is still underway and there being no immediate end in sight for the Russian invasion, Turkish Airlines had to make an off-route landing in Łódź, Poland.
Last week, Turkish Airlines landed a flight in Łódź, Poland. The carrier already had regular routes to four cities connecting to Poland, namely Gdańsk, Krakow, Poznan and Warsaw. But this was the first time in the history of the carrier to fly to Łódź.
But due to the circumstances involving the Ukraine war and a Champions League football match, they were prompted to make a one-off visit to a fifth Polish destination.
Last week on the 20th of July, Istanbul’s Fenerbahçe SK faced off against Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. Previously, the teams played two games in each of their homelands.
However, the Russian Invasion rendered it implausible to hold a game on the soil of Ukraine without jeopardising the safety of both teams. And so the match had to be moved to its neighbouring country Poland.
The city of Łódź graciously agreed to host the match in its ŁKS Łódź stadium on the 20th of July. the two teams flew into the city’s Władysław Reymont Airport.
According to a post on the airport’s LinkedIn page, Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv arrived from Brussels on Saturday, July 16th.
Istanbul’s Fenerbahçe SK flew into the airport on a chartered Turkish Airlines flight on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 19th, one day before the match.
In an interesting turn of events, the Turkish Airlines flight took off from Sabiha Gökçen International Airport instead of the airline’s usual hub at Istanbul Airport.
At the Władysław Reymont Airport, the players were welcomed by an entourage of fans who support them. They “were warmly welcomed at Łódź Airport by the Ambassador of Turkey with his family, sports activists, and fans.”
The match on July 20th was watched by 14,000 spectators and resulted in a draw with neither team scoring any points. The second match will be held on 27 July in Istanbul, which will hopefully decide the ultimate winner.