Hundreds to take ‘stairway to heaven’ as Euro 2016 kicks off

Steps to success: the Northern Ireland staircase at Belfast International
Steps to success: the Northern Ireland staircase at Belfast International

Hundreds of passionate Northern Ireland fans will climb specially branded stairs as they head to departure gates at Belfast International Airport early on Sunday morning en route to France for Euro 16.

The advance party of the ‘Green and White Army’ is already in Nice. Hundreds more, in fact 860 in total, will board four charters flights – the first wave of the ‘airlift’ on a total of fourteen charters.

The airport has been determined to its bit to make sure fans leave in the right frame of mind as they set off on the exodus to Nice, Lyon and Paris for the games against Poland, Ukraine and Germany.

In the check-in hall, there are banners expressing support for the Northern Ireland team. In the ‘core’ – the open area where the stairs and escalators are located – there are huge wall banners doing the same.

But it’s the staircase to the main concourse that has the most impact.

From the bottom to the top, the branded ‘Good Luck Northern Ireland’ message with #DaretoDream has already come in for plenty of praise from passengers according to BIA operations director, Alan Whiteside.

Alan says: “Not only have we done the ‘stairway to heaven’ but we’ve branded extensively to show our support.

“Once airside, there’s a specially created fan zone with a giant tv screen and seating. Next week, we will do it all again for the 987 heading to Lyon and a week after that, we’ll see almost 1,000 fans coming through to board five charters to Paris.

“Our summer rush has started early which means a lot of us will miss going to the games. But the team, squad and fans have our best wishes for the tournament.”