Liverpool’s mayor has been having talks with the mayor of Kiev, former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, in an attempt to fly football fans out to the Champions League final.
Joe Anderson’s move comes as nearly 700 Liverpool supporters face missing the match against Real Madrid, after operator Worldchoice Sports cancelled three flights due to insufficient landing spots at Ukraine’s Boryspil Airport.
Mr Anderson has since had to break the news that it is “really not looking good” as he has been unable to find a crew for a back-up plane.
The Worldchoice Sports cancellations originally affected 1,000 fans but one of the flights was rescheduled.
Mr Anderson has been working with Mr Klitschko, who turned to politics after retiring as a three-time world heavyweight champion, to find a solution ahead of the match on Saturday.
The Liverpool mayor posted messages on Twitter on Thursday and Friday stating that he was trying to find a carrier to provide flights from John Lennon airport.
In a video posted at roughly midday on Friday, he said: “We’ve had more discussions this morning with the mayor Klitschko and also the director of the airport.”
He added: “They’re trying to look if we can use an airport nearby, either to get an airbus in there, one of the big ones, or some smaller crafts in there either today or tomorrow.
“We’re working really hard behind the scenes trying to do things.”
At 4pm he tweeted to suggest that the plan he was trying to hatch with Mr Klitchsko looked doomed to failure.
He said: “No final decision yet but really not looking good – unable to resolve flight situation.
“With support of @Vitaliy_Klychko, #Kievairport & carrier we had plane & landing slot but crew were coming from the USA and crew rest time a huge barrier.
“Time against us.”
He had previously said his office was in talks with a carrier that could put on “two or three flights” from Liverpool to Kiev on Saturday.
He said: “The mayor (of Kiev) has said he will lay on transport to take people to the grounds which is about 40 minutes away.”
Mr Anderson finished: “That’s what I’m hoping. I can’t confirm or promise anything 100%.”
Liverpool announced on Friday that anyone who bought match tickets direct from the club and had been affected by the cancelled flights would be able to claim a refund.
Worldchoice Sports said due to the amount of flights heading to Ukraine ahead of Liverpool’s meeting with Real Madrid, Boryspil Airport had been unable to allocate times for the three planes.
In a statement tweeted on Friday, it said: “With no accommodation in Kiev being available it was decided that in such a short space of time it would not be possible to utilise this slot and risk the safety of our customers.”
It added: “We can’t apologise to our customers enough about the situation they find themselves in.
“We feel terribly let down by Kiev airport and can assure all customers affected will be getting a full refund over the next seven days.”