Aer Lingus was today announced as ‘the official airline of the Irish rugby team’. The new partnership will see Ireland’s national airline link up with the Irish rugby team, which has risen to third in the World Rugby rankings after back-to-back RBS 6 Nations Championship wins under the helm of Joe Schmidt and his coaching team.
The three-year deal will see Aer Lingus support the IRFU by flying players, management and support staff around Europe as they compete in the RBS 6 Nations Championships and in other high profile international tournaments..
As part of the new sponsorship agreement, Aer Lingus will re-name one of its aircraft Green Spirit which will be transformed with IRFU and player branding.
This aircraft will be unveiled in early May with a further aircraft being branded in similar livery as Joe Schmidt’s men embark on their outward journey to the Rugby World Cup in September.
In addition, a player from each of the four provinces, who will be named Aer Lingus Brand Ambassadors, will take part in a safety demonstration video which will be shown on board Aer Lingus transatlantic flights.
Celebratory send-offs and homecomings are also planned with the team as they travel to and from this autumn’s Rugby World Cup and Six Nations games.
Commenting on the partnership, Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer at Aer Lingus, commented: “We are very proud to partner with the IRFU, bringing together two strong iconic Irish brands with long and rich heritages.
“There are many synergies between us – we are both international success stories which instil pride in Irish people. We have lots of exciting plans including the rebranding of aircraft in IRFU livery displaying our four ambassadors – this is a first for Aer Lingus and indeed for Irish aviation.”
“This sponsorship is part of a wider re-energisation of the Aer Lingus brand that has seen recent changes to brand positioning (‘Smart Flies Aer Lingus’), commercial platform (‘Black & White choices’), the lead Creative agency (KesselsKramer) and substantive investment in the Aer Lingus Guest Experience (New Business Class Service/New JFK Lounge/New Dublin Arrivals Lounge).”
He added: “On behalf of all the staff at Aer Lingus, I would like to wish the Irish rugby team every success in the upcoming World Cup and beyond.”
Padraig Power, IRFU Commercial & Marketing Director, said: “The IRFU are delighted to welcome Aer Lingus to the Irish rugby family.
“The partnership will help facilitate the travelling arrangements of all Irish teams to help maximise success at every level as well as delivering a new and exciting platform to further promote the Irish rugby brand. We look forward to a great future with Aer Lingus.”