In a process that typically requires up to two months of lead time, Private Jet Services (PJS) organized and executed a 30-flight plan to privately charter 21 international Major League Soccer (MLS) players to the United States in less than 14 days time. The project amassed more than 115 hours of flight time between 27 cities, 17 countries and 4 continents.
When the MLS regular 2020 season concluded on November 8th, the MLS organization held its breath for the green light on its playoff schedule amidst climbing COVID-19 cases and another temporary season suspension looming. As a November 20th playoff start date was confirmed, the MLS urgently sought a way to bring its roster of international players back into the United States despite rigorous COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Working on a tight timeline, PJS and MLS, partnered to quickly pinpoint players world-wide and secure flights. The flight plan collected players from smaller hubs in Africa, Europe and South America and joined them together in major connecting cities of Lima, Madrid and Johannesburg before bringing them into the United States.
“While a challenging project, the support and efficiency that we were able to provide MLS showcases just a small part of what PJS is capable of doing,” said Greg Raiff, CEO of PJS. “Even in the middle of a global pandemic affecting both aviation and live sports, our two industries were able to come together to solve what seemed like an impossible chore from the get-go. We are excited to continue providing the excellent service these teams deserve and for the opportunity to build an ongoing relationship with MLS.”
PJS demonstrated its skill in navigating new pandemic regulations and ensuring the safety of MLS players by:
- Securing additional permits where needed and working closely with the MLS to leverage their relationships with local governments
- Confirming negative COVID-19 tests for all players prior to boarding all flights
- Expanding its traditional flight routes to work around countries with more strict COVID-19 travel regulations or shut to commercial aviation entirely
- Ensuring that players were aware of and abided by government regulations for each city transited.
The culmination of the playoff season will take place with the 2020 MLS Cup on Saturday, December 12th between Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders.