On June 25, 2009, The Oakland Raiders announced an unprecedented sponsorship with AirAsia, the largest low-fare airline in Asia. Highlighting the sponsorship is an AirAsia A340 airliner named "Xcellence" that is adorned with Raider marks and imagery, including the Raider shield on the tailfin and an eye patch on the nose of the plane.
That airplane touched down in the United States for the very first time this morning and was put on display at the Oakland International Airport. A formal press conference was held on the tarmac of the Oakland International Airport as AirAsia was introduced to the local community.
Raiders representatives Mark Davis, Meka White and Elena Valenzuela, Raider Legends Cliff Branch, Ted Hendricks and Rod Martin, along with Raiderettes April, Amanda, Angel and Shonte, visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in June to kick off the start of the sponsorship.
Dignitaries, Raiders representatives, including Mark Davis and Chief Executive Amy Trask, and Legends, AirAsia executives and crew members, Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport executives and staff members, and several members of the media attended Monday morning's press conference.
The voice the Raiders, Greg Papa, served as Master of Ceremonies and after a performance by the Raiderettes – Football's Fabulous Females, got the festivities underway by introducing the Mayor of Oakland, the Honorable Ron Dellums.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums speaks at the Raiders/AirAsia press conference.
Photo by Tony Gonzales
"It is significant that AirAsia chose the Oakland Raiders as the first NFL team to launch their brand in the United States. We are extremely grateful," Mayor Dellums stated. "The Oakland Raiders are a global team and AirAsia Xcellence has recognized that. I believe that that is extraordinarily significant."
Deborah Ale Flint, the Port of Oakland's acting Aviation Director, welcomed AirAsia to the Oakland International Airport and introduced Victor Uno, the President of the Port of Oakland.
Mark Davis spoke on behalf of the Silver and Black.
"The Raiders are truly excited about our relationship with Air Asia. It is another testament to the global reach of the Raider brand," Davis said. "The name of the plane is Xcellence, the guiding force behind both organizations, and together Air Asia and The Oakland Raiders will be a winning team for years to come."
Mark Davis then presented a Raiders helmet autographed by the entire team to AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes.
Papa then introduced the Raider Legends in attendance – Fred Biletnikoff, Ted Hendricks, Cliff Branch, Jim Otto, Phil Villapiano, Tom Flores and Morris Bradshaw.
Fernandes then took to the podium, thanked those in attendance and expressed his excitement about the sponsorship.
Malaysia's ambassador to the United States, Dr. Jamaludin Jarjis spoke about the relationship between Malaysia and the United States and AirAsia's sponsorship of the Raiders.
Malaysia's ambassador to the United States, Dr. Jamaludin Jarjis, speaks at the Raiders AirAsia press conference.Photo by Tony Gonzales
AirAsia X's CEO Azran Osman-Rani also made a few remarks about the sponsorship.
At the conclusion of the event, the speakers answered questions from the media. AirAsia presented model airplanes to the Raiders, the Port of Oakland and the City of Oakland. Guests were then afforded the opportunity to tour the aircraft and partake in refreshments.
The executives, pilots and crew from AirAsia attended Monday's game between the Raiders and the San Diego Chargers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, services the most extensive network with 122 routes covering more than 65 destinations. Within seven years of operation, AirAsia has carried over 70 million passengers and grown its fleet from just two aircraft to 80. The airline today is proud to be a truly Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) airline with established operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, servicing a network stretching across all Asean countries, China, India and Bangladesh. This is further complemented by AirAsia X, its low cost long-haul affiliate carrier that currently flies to destinations in China, Australia and the UK.