Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Air Raiders

Courtesy AirAsia

AirAsia plans to mark its first landing in the United States Monday by flying an Oakland Raiders branded jet into Oakland Airport, although it still has not date for actual service in the U.S.

The flight, from Kuala Lumpur, is scheduled to land in time for the Raiders' season opener against the San Diego Chargers.

The Airbus A340 is named "Xcellence," to match the Raiders' motto "Commitment to Excellence," AirAsia said. The "X" part also refers to AirAsia X, which bills itself as "the world's only low-cost long-haul carrier," and is negotiating with U.S. airports for possible routes into the country.

"U.S. destinations are very much in our long term plans, as demonstrated by our recent order for 10 Airbus A350 aircraft," AirAsia X Chief Executive Azran Osman-Rani said in a news release. "These planes would be delivered beginning 2016. However, we are exploring ways of commencing flights to the U.S. much earlier than 2016."

AirAsia is currently a partner of the AT&T Williams Formula One team and previously was the official low-cost airline for the Manchester United Football Club.

Al Davis (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The National Football League team and AirAsia partnered in an effort to expand the Raiders' fan base in Asia and promote AirAsia in the U.S.

The news release quoted "Oakland Raiders owner" Mark Davis saying: "This relationship is another example of The Raiders commitment to building a global presence, and we look forward to building on this relationship for years to come."

The Raiders' Web site, however, still lists Mark's iconic dad, Al Davis, as the team's sole owner. Al Davis, of course, travels by UFO.

The Raiders last made the playoffs at the end of the 2002 season, losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.

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