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Madrid expects 70,000 Brit football fans for Champions' League final
By thinkSPAIN Team Thu, May 30, 2019
RECORD numbers of British football fans are set to descend on Madrid airport for the Champions' League final between Liverpool and Tottenham, and extra flights have been scheduled to cope with demand.
Around 400 commercial passenger aircraft and 1,100 private jets are expected to land, carrying British fans alone – in total, about 7,278 flights will bring in over a million passengers.
Some 55,000 extra seats on flights have been provided ahead of the competition final, due to be held at Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
Air traffic jams are expected, largely due to the increase in private jets, and to prepare for the mass arrival, Madrid's Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport has taken on 500 extra staff and upped its number of air-traffic controllers by 50%.
Around 4,700 National Police officers will be on duty at the airport and will be focusing particularly on incoming flights from Liverpool-John Lennon, Manchester, and the London airports of Stansted, Luton, Heathrow and Gatwick.
Security has been heightened at all these source airports in the UK to prevent some of Britain's most dangerous football hooligans from leaving the country.
The number of British fans seeking to reach Madrid is way beyond that of hotel rooms available, forcing some to book accommodation further afield.
National Police have set up extra security measures in the cathedral city of Burgos, Castilla y León, after hearing that hotels there and in the neighbouring towns of Miranda del Duero, Lerma and Aranda were fully booked with British visitors entering the country via Bilbao airport.
It is expected that the fans will stay overnight in the Burgos area and then travel to Madrid the next day for the match, before leaving again for the UK directly afterwards without returning to Burgos.
Madrid is expecting around 70,000 British fans, of whom up to 35,000 do not have tickets for the match booked.
Alcohol will cease to be served in the city from 17.00, and drones will be employed.
At least 2,000 police officers will be on duty at the high-speed AVE railway station and airport in Alicante to manage the flow of fans travelling to Madrid from the Costa Blanca.
Around 100 police have been on the beat in Benidorm's Rincón de Loix neighbourhood, known as the 'British district', and in particular the C/ Mallorca, since last night when the UEFA League Chelsea v Arsenal match was televised, and will do likewise for Saturday for the Champions' League final.
Traffic may be prevented from entering Benidorm town centre if crowds are excessively large.
Already, the town's public safety councillor has been in contact with bars in the 'British district', asking them to remove bar stools and tables that could be easily picked up and thrown, and to serve alcohol in plastic beakers rather than glasses.
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