ATLANTA (AP) – The US Olympic team’s partner airline will charter a flight from Los Angeles to Beijing to bring about half of America’s athletes to the Winter Olympics.
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said the federation had reached an agreement with Delta Air Lines to bring between 80 and 100 Olympians directly to Beijing in late January.
This is a major breakthrough for the United States, which faced logistical challenges due to the closure of routes between the United States and Beijing. These flights have all but come to a standstill following schedule changes brought on by COVID-19.
The USOPC has not disclosed the exact date of the charter, and while the charter solves a major logistical problem for the U.S. team, it still leaves some challenges. Normally, athletes tailor their flights according to their specific competition schedules – planning to ensure that they will arrive with enough time to accommodate the change in time.
“Some will be there for less time than they would like and others for longer,” said Hirshland. âBut it helps to have some certainty so that everyone can plan ahead. “
Most of those not on the charter will arrive in Beijing from Europe, where they are in the middle of their winter seasons. The USOPC’s plan to send dozens of coaches and support staff to Beijing is still unknown. Most of the instructions from the Beijing organizing committee were for people making connections in Tokyo or Hong Kong.
The news came the same day Delta unveiled a Team USA branded aircraft. This year, Delta began sponsoring the U.S. team which will make them the official airline for the team until the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028. The deal was worth $ 400 million and was also tied to partner NBC. of Olympic television.
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