Sponsorship is vital in all airline marketing strategy and assists airlines in expanding brand visibility and establishing lasting and loyal relationships with their customers.
Concerning A350 XWB 2 main customers Qatar and Emirates, they have a similar marketing strategy on the sponsorship activities.
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Qatar Airways has become the main sponsor of Barcelona Football Club. Qatar Airways and the football team of Barcelona has signed an agreement until 30/June/2016 of 96 million euro. If “Barça” team wins the European Champion League, they will receive additional 5 million euro.
The CEO of the airline, Akbar Al Baker, said that the sponsorship agreement includes “activities that will benefit fans and passengers, by offering tangible rewards to both entities.”
Qatar Airways has made a significant commitment to Barcelona-El Prat Airport, and from December will increase its offer from 7 to 10 weekly flights between Barcelona and the Gulf Emirate.
Qatar Airways “seek sponsorships that link Qatar Airways brand attributes and values with our customers, reinforce brand position efforts (including advertising and promotions), and provide a platform to deliver credibility for our brand.”
On the other hand, Emirates has an impressive portfolio of sponsorships at European club level with partnerships including Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiacos, and Hamburger SV.
The sponsorship is not limited to football; Emirates also sponsors Rugby, Tennis, F1, Horse Racing, Golf, Cricket, Sailing, Australian Rules Football and several arts, culture and music events all around the world.
“We believe sponsorships are one of the best ways to connect with our passengers. They allow us to share and support their interests and to build a closer relationship with them,” said Emirates CEO and Chairman.
Singapore Airlines sponsorship strategy on sports is limited to the annual Singapore Airlines International Cup horse race. Cathay Pacific sponsors the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens Rugby team.
Airlines avoid association with or sponsorship of activities related to politics, religious affairs, extreme sports (e.g. wrestling and boxing), unfair competition, content with nudity, explicit images, negative behavior and short lead time (i.e less than 12 weeks prior to the event).