British Airways Prepares To Fly Athletes To The Tokyo Olympics

British Airways is beginning preparations to fly Team GB out to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The British flag carrier today announced that it has been chosen as the official partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB.

British Airways, Team GB, Tokyo Olympics
In 2016, British Airways flew Team GB back from the Rio Olympic Games onboard a Boeing 747. Photo: Getty Images

Eight years on from the London 2012 Olympic Games, the world is getting ready to meet once more to celebrate the peak of human athletic achievement. This time around, the games will be hosted by Tokyo, Japan. This will be the fourth consecutive year that the airline will have offered its support to the Olympic and Paralympic teams representing Great Britain.

No small task

Flying athletes to the Olympic Games may sound like a case of just place them on a flight and go, however, this is no small task for the airline. Britain has a fairly sizeable representation at the Olympic Games, unlike some smaller countries. As a result, hundreds of people will need to be moved halfway across the globe.

There are not just athletes to transport either. Alongside the athletes, coaches and support staff, swathes of equipment, such as bikes and kayaks, will need to be transported to Japan for the games. Additionally, don’t forget that the equestrian events require horses to be transported!

British Airways, Team GB, Tokyo Olympics
British Airways is already preparing for the Olympic Games this year! Photo: British Airways

While some, such as support staff, may fly out on regular British Airways flights in advance, the airline typically schedules special flights just to transport the team to wherever the games are taking place. It makes sense, after all, the airline is able to largely fill the aircraft. Additionally, it can still sell its regular seats to those flying to watch the Games.

Olympic liveries?

British Airways has been known to add a special touch to its aircraft for some special flights. Last summer, the airline added a special message to the side of a Boeing 777 in support of the England rugby team participating in the Rugby World Cup (also in Tokyo).

When London hosted the Olympic Games in 2012, the airline certainly didn’t shy away from the celebration either. Nine of its Airbus A319 aircraft were painted in a “golden dove” livery to mark the occasion.

However, one aircraft got an entirely different livery altogether. The predominately yellow, orange, and gold “firefly” livery was adopted for the aircraft as it was given a special task. The A319 was given the honor of flying the Olympic flame to the United Kingdom from Athens.

British Airways, Team GB, Tokyo Olympics
A British Airways Airbus A319 carried the Olympic flame to Great Britain. Photo: British Airways

Having arrived near Land’s End, the flame then went on to tour the United Kingdom as part of the torch marathon. I remember seeing the flame passing through my village, and it was certainly something! This year the Japanese will be able to make similar memories. Meanwhile, foreign tourists visiting the games will get the chance to take free flights with Japan Airlines to explore another piece of Japan.

Will you be flying out to see the Olympic Games in Japan? Let us know which airline you’re flying with in the comments!