Thousands of football fans jetting off for the Champions League final in Madrid could ensure UK airspace endures its busiest day ever.
With Liverpool and Tottenham due to go head-to-head at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday evening, there is set to be a surge in commercial planes and private jets departing from Merseyside and London.
Some 9,000 flights are predicted to take off, beating the all-time daily record of 8,854 set on 25 May last year.
Air traffic control provider Nats has warned travellers that delays are possible due to “limited capacity on the ground at some airports and in the air”, with up to 800 extra flights planned between Friday and Sunday.
It said Madrid airport was preparing to handle a record number of flights over the three days, with more than 1,100 biz-jet and 400 charter movements, plus 200 private jet journeys.
There would usually be more than 8,000 flights on a standard May day anyway, with this being the busiest time of year for flights in and out of the UK.
Last Friday fell just shy of the record with 8,742 flights.
The increasingly busy skies have resulted in the government announcing its intention to modernise UK airspace to aid the environment and reduce journey times.
The Department for Transport has proposed increasing the number of flight paths and GPS-like equipment being more widely used on planes, meaning flights will be more direct.
Aviation minister Baroness Vere said: “Like our road and rail infrastructure on the ground, we need to keep our infrastructure in the sky up to date to keep people moving.
“It hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s, and without action, one in three flights could face delays of half an hour or more by 2030.
“It is a complex and pressing task, but it will make flying cleaner, quieter and quicker, as we make our aviation sector one of the greenest in the world.”
The expected boom across this weekend comes despite airlines wasting no time in hiking their prices in light of the stunning semi-final comebacks for Liverpool and Spurs last month, with both coming from 3-0 down in their ties to see off La Liga champions Barcelona and Dutch giants Ajax.
More supporters are expected to travel than there will be in the stadium, with the two English clubs having only been allocated 16,613 tickets each at the near-70,000 capacity ground.