AirAsia to fly Pacman livery for Macau fight
MANILA, Philippines–Manny Pacquiao is famous around the world for his boxing prowess and a new deal with one of the region’s biggest budget airlines is set to take him, literally, to greater heights.
Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian tycoon and founder of AirAsia, on Wednesday confirmed the Malaysian airline’s one-year sponsorship agreement with Pacquiao. He said the carrier intends to inaugurate the deal by providing two AirAsia Airbus A320s to fly Team Pacquiao to Macau on Nov. 23 for his match with Chris Algieri.
Fernandes, who flew to General Santos City for a meeting with the boxing champ on Wednesday, said the agreement also includes giving one of its trademark red planes a new paint job, likely with Pacquiao’s famous mug.
This is the first agreement of its kind featuring a Filipino sports icon. Abroad, AirAsia has tied up with celebrities. It earlier showed a plane with livery featuring American musician Taylor Swift.
“We try to celebrate heroes, guys or girls who come from nowhere and make people’s dreams come true,” Fernandes told reporters before his flight to General Santos yesterday.
“So when this opportunity [with Pacquiao] came, it was too good an opportunity to miss,” he said.
Fernandes said the plan was for Pacquiao to use the newly painted plane for his fight with Algieri.
“If we can do it in time [for Nov. 23]—and I think we can—that would be pretty cool,” he said.
He did not say how much the carrier, which operates over a dozen planes in the Philippines through AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia Zest, was paying Pacquiao.
Fernandes made a further announcement as he tweeted a photograph with Pacquiao in General Santos with the caption: “With the great Manny and announcing sponsorship and endorsement. AirAsia flying Manny to Macau for world championship.”
Fernandes said AirAsia was banking on Pacquaio’s fame to help increase the carrier’s profile in the Philippines to boost ticket sales.
AirAsia is a recognized brand in the East Asian region but it has struggled in its domestic operations.
“We are using Manny to promote AirAsia,” Fernandes said.
Originally posted: 1:13 PM | Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
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