Around 1,000 fans have been left stranded at Liverpool airport after three flights to the Champions League final were cancelled.
Worldchoice Sports said it could not secure landing slots at Kiev’s Boryspil Airport for three planes.
Liverpool FC said it is working with stakeholders in the UK and Ukraine to resolve the issue.
Since Thurday, one slot has been secured after Liverpool mayor Jo Anderson stepped in and took up the issue with the mayor of Kiev.
“Flights chartered by World Choice Sports had been set to take supporters to Ukraine, but a dispute between the Widnes-based travel company and the aviation authorities in Kiev over the size of the aircraft has led to the trips being cancelled,” a club statement read.
“Along with officials from Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Liverpool City Council, UEFA and the authorities in Kiev, Liverpool FC has been endeavouring to resolve the issue since it first came to light and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.”
Liverpool play Real Madrid on Saturday.
In its statement, Widnes-based Worldchoice Sports said it would start to issue refunds from tomorrow.
A statement issued on its website said: “With deep regret, we have had to cancel three flights to Kiev.
“Due to so many flights going into Kiev, Kiev Borispyl has unable to allocate times for aircraft.
“We have worked extremely hard over the last 48 hours trying to resolve these issues. We have had Liverpool football club, Police, UEFA and everyone at the highest levels of authority trying to resolve this.
“We have exhausted all avenues to try and get landing slots. We have had them from Liverpool airport and Manchester airport and we have applied for slots in the correct manner and time frame with the authorities. To reiterate this problem IS with Kiev.”
Six flights, including return journeys, are affected in total.
“At this stage we can only make a huge apology and are very sorry let you down on this occasion. We will be processing full refunds of monies paid as soon as possible, starting tomorrow. If you have booked online, this will be refunded to the same payment method. If you have paid by cash, we will issue a cheque.”
Adam Craig Stevens tweeted: “Paid £2,000 for direct flights to Kiev from Liverpool Airport tomorrow with World Choice Sports. No tickets, flights supposedly cancelled, no communication. Absolute nightmare.”
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson later said he had secured landing slots in Kiev for two aircraft.
He said he negotiated an agreement with Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko – a former world heavyweight boxing champion – in a series of phone calls, the BBC reported
But a second statement from Worldchoice, issued at 8pm on Thursday night, said an additional three-night trip was the only option the company was able to secure.
“With deep regret we cannot get a flight on 26 May from Liverpool or Manchester. Unfortunately we cannot put you on any other flights,” the agency said.
“We appreciate a lot of you have been trying to call us and we have contacted as many as we can. To all those we have not yet contacted, we apologise and we will do so shortly.”
The owner of Worldchoice Sports said it “breaks his heart” to have to cancel flights – and vowed not to walk away from the mess.
Shay Soni told the Liverpool Echo yesterday that staff would be working into the night to try and help stranded supporters.
He said: “We are saddened, we are very upset.
“We have tried everything for the last 48 hours, exploring every avenue we can, the chairman of Liverpool FC, UEFA, directors of Kiev airport.
“We are puzzled as to why they refused to give us slots for these three aircrafts, but they will give permission for 65 private jets.
“We have not done anything wrong, we’ve been doing this for years. We did Istanbul, Athens, Basel.
“I’m so deeply saddened to have let down all these passengers. It breaks my heart to have to do this, especially as a Liverpool fan myself.”
This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.