NRL AIR: V’landys considers private jet to cut costs
NRL Air could be cleared for takeoff.
Peter V'landys will investigate the long-term financial gain of purchasing a private jet for teams to use in-season and be leased to rival sporting codes in summer.
The radical proposal would eliminate the code's annual multimillion-dollar spend on interstate accommodation, decrease the risk of commercially-damaging off-field scandals and aid the mental health and wellbeing of players.
"I'm going to crunch the numbers on it," V'Landys said.
"I've always said, we won't rule anything out, if it's in the best interests of the code and it's stakeholders.
"We could look at offsetting some of the cost by leasing it to A-League or Super Rugby teams, companies, or other interested parties.
"It's definitely worth doing some analysis on it."
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V'Landys interest in assessing the cost-effectiveness of buying, or leasing, a charter plane is born out of the overwhelming positive feedback from clubs who due to the code's strict COVID-19 biosecurity measures, have spent the past three weeks of the competition's resumption flying in and out of Brisbane, Melbourne and Townsville via a charter plane on the same day to play.
To decrease the threat of spreading infection, the same charter plane has been used for all teams.
Prior to COVID-19, teams with travelling parties of up to 30, including players and coaching staff, would travel on a commercial airline and spend at a minimum both the night before and after their game, at a hotel.
Now teams arrive four hours before kick-off and depart two hours after they've played.
Prior to this weekend's matches, of the 11 games that had been played where an NRL team had arrived only hours before kick-off, the travelling side had won eight of the 11 games.
Three-time premiership winning Roosters coach Trent Robinson suggested yesterday the idea of possibility of buying a jet wasn't as far-fetched as it sounds.
He is well-versed in the upside of using a charter flight to land and depart on the same day as was the case when he coached Catalans, in the English Super League.
"It could be our first investment for the NRL," Robinson said.
"We've (Roosters) enjoyed the ease of it and a lot of European clubs - and American clubs - do it.
"I know in Europe when I was at Catalans, Perpignan airport was right there, we flew straight to the north of England and back with the same method.
"A couple of things that are really positive about it is staying in your bed the night before a game and getting more time with your family, is a real positive.
"Everything about it was positive except for (maybe looking) at the ability to have a place to go to before the game.
"We could have a hotel for three or four hours when you arrive.
"I think that would be ideal. You would save a night's accommodation, it's all about the cost difference.
"And then how do you leverage the extra seats on those planes for other sponsors."
Interestingly, the North Queensland Cowboys looked into buying a plane 10-years ago - but as a single franchise couldn't offset the cost.
"We were looking at it as a 20-year investment,"' Cowboys head of football and then-CEO Peter Parr said.
"We thought we could sell seats to corporate's, you could sell the signage to sponsors, you would save on accommodation, but at the time we couldn't justify it.
"But there's an argument that if the game had their own plane, that you might look at doing it the way we're doing it now."
Originally published as NRL AIR: V'landys considers private jet to cut costs