MANILA - AirAsia Bhd group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, confirmed Wednesday that he has worked out a one-year marketing agreement with Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao that will be launched with the provision of two AirAsia Airbus A320s to fly Team Pacquiao to Macau on Nov 23 for his match with Chris Algieri.
Fernandes, who was scheduled to meet with the boxing champ in General Santos City Wednesday afternoon, said the agreement includes giving one of its trademark red planes a new paint job, likely with Pacquiao's famous mug, confirming a report the Biz Buzz column in Wednesday's issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
This is the first agreement of its kind featuring a Filipino sports icon. Abroad, AirAsia has tied up with celebrities like American musician Taylor Swift on its aircraft livery.
"We try to celebrate heroes, guys or girls who come from nowhere and make people's dreams come true," Fernandes told local media before his flight to General Santos on Wednesday.
"So when this opportunity (with Pacquiao) came, it was too good an opportunity to miss," he added.
Fernandes said the plan was for Pacquiao to use the newly painted plane to fly him and his retinue to Macau 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," Fernandes 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 for the deal.