Curiouser and curiouser. Low-cost carrier AirAsia has cemented its partnership with Manchester United – the UK’s Premier League football team – by painting one of its new Airbus A320′s in Man United’s signature red. And emblazoned three metres high on the fuselage of the plane are the team’s elite players Wayne Rooney, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand, Alan Smith, Park Ji Sung and manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
AirAsia brokered the partnership back in September to reactions of initial incredulity here at Airline Business. But there seems to be some logic behind the trail-blazing carrier’s thinking. And at a reported cost of £2 million ($3.6 million), there’d want to be.
AirAsia’s charismatic chief executive Tony Fernandes explains the decision:
“Manchester United has one of the biggest followings in Asia. As the official low-fare airline for Manchester United, AirAsia hopes to create opportunities and exciting avenues to reach out and connect with Manchester United’s loyal fan base in Asia. As such, it is only befitting that we dedicate the aircraft to all the Manchester United fans in Asia.”
The photos show Tony Fernandes and the deputy group chief executive officer Kamarudin Meranun posing in front on the newly arrived A320. Plus the “Red Devil” A320 touches down at Kuala Lumpur International airport. Park Ji Sung, Sir Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand are shown on the fuselage, and Manchester United’s crest adorns the tail.