Flying High: Fifa partner Emirates steps on the gas

 MUMBAI: Football's governing body Fifa's airline partner Emirates is planning a slew of activities in India and Asia. The twin aim is to create further brand awareness and also reward loyal customers. The Fifa World Cup takes place from 9 June to 9 July in Germany.


The Fifa tie up is part of Emirates plan to become a global brand and household name and association with the most high-profile sporting event in the world is one part of Emirates’ strategy to achieve that aim.


Dwelling on the initiatives being done, Emirates VP India and Nepal Salem Obaidalla says that the airline is looking at the possibility of running contests. In addition to promotional contests, Emirates recently introduced the Emirates Fifa packages to provide its Indian and Asian passengers with an opportunity to experience the 2006 Fifa World Cup excitement. "Passengers purchasing Emirates Fifa packages to any of the airline's European destinations will receive complimentary match tickets to the game of their choice including the final" he says.

These packages, starting from Euros1,810 (Rs 1,00,817) per person, include Emirates flights to any of the airline's European destinations (return); two nights' accommodation from a choice of one of 12 cities where matches are being played, and a complimentary match ticket to any of the games, including the final, subject to availability.

Emirates is using the television, print, outdoor and the internet mediums to create awareness of its association with the Fifa World Cup. A global TV advertising campaign launched recently to mark the airline's Official Partner status. The advertisements are running on several international channels like ESPN Star Sports, CNN, BBC World, Discovery and National Geographic.

Online an official website of the 2006 Fifa World Cup hosted by Yahoo was created last year with Emirates sponsorship. The site will be featuring complete match coverage.

When asked to elaborate on the theme of the campaign Obaidalla says, "The theme of the campaign is based on Emirates' hugely successful and award-winning Keep discovering campaign. The advertisements speak the language of the fans and the passion of football in a truly international and global context.

"The message of the campaign is that wherever you go and whatever cultural background you have, you'll find people all around the world having one thing in common: We all speak one language: Football.

"The key visual of a person running with his arms outstretched mimicking an aircraft - a move performed by footballers after having scored a goal - show an underlined link between Emirates and the sport of football."

Emirates has also used the print medium in a big way. Over the past few months ads have been carried in publications such as The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Closer to home, Emirates is also looking to tie up with certain Indian hotels and pubs for screenings. These will be called Fifa World Cup Zones. When asked where India stands, Obaidalla points out that India is a key market. Indian Ocean and West Asia contributed 9.7 per cent of Emirates' total revenue for 2004 to 2005.

"The Indian sub-continent contributed approximately 18 per cent of Emirates' total passengers for 2004 to 2005. We have just launched in Kolkata and are actively promoting the route. Kolkata will be promoted by Emirates Holidays, the largest wholesale tour operator in the Gulf and Middle East, in its World of Choice brochures, and through Emirates' offices and travel agents across the network.

" After the launch in Kolkata, we will launch eight flights per week between Dubai and Bangalore starting 29 October. We are also interested in launching services to smaller cities and hope the Indian and UAE governments will give the necessary permissions through the bi-lateral agreement.

"We are also identifying a second international call centre facility in India that will handle all operations worldwide. Our current facility handles all queries from Dubai, North America, Australia, and UK."

As had been reported earlier by, Emirates Airline signed a seven year $ 195 million partnership deal with Fifa. With this sponsorship deal, the airline's largest ever, Emirates becomes the sixth and final major sponsor of Fifa, joining the likes of Coca-Cola, Visa, Adidas, Sony and Hyundai.

The airlines will be the official carrier to all Fifa events - including both the 2010 (South Africa) and 2014 (in South America) World Cups. Emirates is looking to strengthen its association with international football, which its says is the most widely supported sport in the world.

Emirates has a commitment from Fifa to ensure that at least 22 matches including the opening match, two quarter-finals, two semi-finals, the third place play off and the final of both the 2010 and the 2014 Fifa World Cups may be shown on free-to-air television

within the territory of the United Arab Emirates. This, Emirates notes is a great opportunity for residents of the UAE to enjoy what it calls the greatest sporting spectacle on earth.

Emirates passengers will also benefit as Emirates has the exclusive right to broadcast matches of the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups either live or delayed on its in-flight entertainment systems.

Emirates branding will be evident at all Fifa events during the eight years of this agreement – which is some 44 tournaments and 952 matches - as well as on all Fifa merchandise and its website,

which will be seen by billions of people during the lifetime of this partnership.

As Fifa’s only Travel Partner, Emirates receives preferred airline status and a commitment from Fifa to develop business with Emirates including team/association travel wherever logistically possible which will allow the airline to grow through exposure to new customers around the world and to further develop Dubai as one of the world’s premier travel hubs and destinations.

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