On the weekend when English football is gripped by FA Cup fever, Emirates has played its part with the unveiling of its latest themed Airbus A380 aircraft.
The Emirates FA Cup A380 was presented ahead of the semi-final stage of football’s oldest cup competition, of which the Dubai carrier last year became the first title sponsor in its 144-year history.
This season’s first semi-final saw Manchester United dramatically defeat Everton 2-1 at Wembley last night, meaning they will meet the winners of today’s other semi-final between Crystal Palace and Watford.
For its first journey, the FA Cup themed A380 flew to London Heathrow, where it was met by former England and Liverpool goalkeeper David James, an FA Cup winner with Portsmouth in 2008.
The plane will return to Dubai as EK030 and then continue on to Seoul, Madrid, Paris and eventually visit the 37 destinations served by the Emirates A380 worldwide.
“Being the title sponsor for the Emirates FA Cup along with our sponsorship of Arsenal shows our deep commitment to the United Kingdom and football,” said Emirates president Tim Clark.
It follows on from a number of other football-themed planes Emirates has used during the past year.
In March it celebrated its partnership with Italian club AC Milan with an aircraft sporting images of players Riccardo Montolivo, Mario Balotelli, Carlos Bacca, Keisuke Honda, Alessio Romagnoli, and Mattia De Sciglio on the fuselage.
In December it was the turn of Cristiano Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammates to adorn the A380 decal. Emirates said it would be used for sixth months.
And in July it flew Premier League side Arsenal on its pre-season tour to Singapore in a Boeing 777-200LR featuring Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere on one side, plus Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud on the other. On board, menus and headrests were given an Arsenal theme.
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