British Airways gave the UK’s Invictus Games Sydney 2018 squad, a heroes’ send off at Heathrow this morning (last night in the UK) ahead of their 10,558-mile flight down under.

Team UK, a 72-strong group of wounded, injured and sick serving military personnel and veterans were photographed before they boarded this evening’s BA15 to Sydney.

The airline has specially decorated the Boeing 777 aircraft that will carry the team on the flight to Australia and the squad looked ready to hit the world stage, standing proud in front of the message ‘Good Luck Team UK’. Kicking off on October 20 and running until October 27, the games will see Team UK participate in 11 different adaptive sports against 500 men and women from 18 countries.

Mark ‘Dot’ Perkins, Team Captain of Team UK, said: “The send-off British Airways has given us has been incredibly special and we are now even more determined to give it our all in Sydney and make the nation proud. When we walk out in front of the crowd for the opening ceremony it will be an intense experience so having British Airways’ expert crew on hand to make our journey to Australia as seamless as possible is incredibly reassuring and an immense support.”

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO, said: “We are fortunate enough to have a long history of supporting Great Britain’s national teams, so we’re immensely proud to be the official airline of Team UK and part of this monumental occasion. It’s an honour to fly the nations heroes’ and we are doing everything we can to make their journey as enjoyable as possible to ensure they arrive refreshed and ready to perform when they touch down in Australia.”

The team will be followed on October 20 by The Kingdom Choir, who performed at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding earlier this year and will fly out after Team UK in preparation for a special performance at the closing ceremony of the games.

The team will compete in 11 sports: Athletics; Archery; Wheelchair Basketball; Cycling; Powerlifting; Indoor Rowing; Wheelchair Rugby; Swimming, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Tennis and a new sport for 2018, Sailing, which will take place in Sydney Harbour.

Team UK is delivered through a partnership of Help for Heroes, the MOD and The Royal British Legion.

British Airways flies direct between London and Sydney, with a daily service departing from Sydney Airport. Return fares start from $1321 per person. The airline is investing over $8 billion for its customers over the next five years, which includes the installation of the best quality WiFi and power in every seat, fitting 128 longhaul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft.