Malaysia's AirAsia 'cements' its ManU connection

AirAsia saw itself the clear winner in Saturday's English Premier League derby between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford.

"It was a historic day for the largest low-fare airline in Asia when millions of Malaysians and millions more across the world saw its name displayed on the perimeter board during the match.Although each display lasted between 15 and 20 seconds, it was enough to make any Malaysian proud of AirAsia's achievement in becoming the first Asian country to be associated with a club who are said to have the largest following in the world," Sarban Singh reported in the New Straits Times..

United legend Sir Bobby Charlton and AirAsia chief Datuk Tony Fernandes officially cemented the deal before millions of viewers when they appeared on the pitch at halftime with the latter presenting a miniature AirAsia aircraft to Charlton. Malaysia's youth and sports minister, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, was also present to give the Government's endorsement.

Believed to be in the region of RM14 million, the tie-up will, among other things, allow AirAsia to be the official low-cost airline of Manchester United FC. It also gives the airline the right to use the club's name for promotional and advertising activities including merchandising.

Manchester United chief executive officer David Gill said the club was also proud to be associated with the airline which he described as "highly dynamic, innovative and focused organisation."

Also present at the ceremony were Football Association of Malaysia independent member Khairy Jamaluddin, AirAsia executive director Kamarudin Meranun and its executive vice president and chief financial officer Raja Mohd Azmi.

Also see: Manchester United: Malaysia's "most supported" (9 Sept)