Champions League final: Fans gather in Kiev after flight cancellations

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image captionExcitement is building ahead of the Champions League final

Liverpool supporters are gathering in Kiev for the Champions League final after a series of flight cancellations.

Two travel companies axed flights in the week, leaving some fans unable to make the game against Real Madrid.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport said about 4,500 passengers flew to the Ukrainian capital on Saturday morning.

One fan said: "Friends have had flights cancelled, they've managed to rearrange to get here - we're here, we're ready for it and we're going to win it."

A total of 23 flights departed between 03:00 and 11:00 BST for Kiev.

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image captionLiverpool and Real Madrid fans enjoy the Kiev sunshine
image copyrightUEFA / HANDOUT
image captionLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp receives a gift at Kiev Airport

Excitement has been building ahead of Liverpool's first Champions League final in 11 years.

One supporter told BBC Breakfast: "I'm really nervous but it's the whole day of it, it's the excitement, the buzz, the fans and and I can't wait to get to Kiev and join in with the atmosphere."

In Liverpool, fans have booked tickets to watch the match, which kicks off at 19:45, at big screens at Anfield stadium and city centre venues.

media captionLiverpool fans in Kiev speak of the frustration of fans being stranded at home

Myriad Travel said its flight on Friday had been cancelled by its supplier as the aircraft "does not have the correct licence to fly".

Three other flights from the Liverpool-based company went ahead and affected customers will be refunded.

The company said it had been trying to source alternatives but had been unable to do so.

The flight was provided by aircraft charter company Air Partner Ltd.

A spokesman for Air Partner said the company "deeply regret" that the original aircraft was unable to fly.

"On Thursday morning, we offered a number of alternative aircraft solutions to the travel agent that contracted us, but they declined them, and we fully refunded the travel agent," the spokesman added.

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image captionLiverpool fans cool off by a fountain
image copyrightReuters
image captionIt is Liverpool's first Champions League final in 11 years

Operator Worldchoice Sports cancelled three flights on Thursday but secured one extra three-night trip.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said his team had been "working flat out" to find alternative solutions for fans with cancelled flights.

"We now must accept the fact that some fans who have tickets may not be able to make the game."

He said he was "hugely disappointed and frustrated at the utter shambles loyal fans have been put through".

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image captionCristiano Ronaldo (centre) and Gareth Bale (right) have scored 61 goals for Real this season

"UEFA and the companies involved will have questions to answer."

Liverpool FC said it would offer a full refund on match tickets for those who had been booked on the cancelled flights.

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