Etihad Airways has signed a deal to become the official airline of some of the world’s top fashion week events as the Abu Dhabi carrier seeks to focus its sponsorship on fashion, food and football.
In a tie-up with the entertainment and sports management company WME | IMG, Etihad will become the official airline of 17 fashion week events around the world including New York, London, Milan, Berlin, Sydney and Mumbai.
Etihad partner airlines Alitalia, Jet Airways, airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Niki and Etihad Regional will also be involved in the deal, ferrying top models, designers, photographers and stylists between events and participating in fashion-focused offers and promotions.
Currency fluctuations, a slowdown in the Chinese economy, and changing global travel patterns are forcing sponsors such as Etihad to focus their sponsorship cash in the areas they believe will generate the biggest returns.
Etihad’s first fashion week endorsement will be at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, which runs from May 15 to 20 in Sydney.
Etihad said that the move was part of a new sponsorship strategy in which the airline would put additional focus on “three core lifestyle interests that drive competitive advantage from sponsorship: food, fashion and football".
It said that future sponsorship deals would be aimed at increased collaboration across the Etihad Airways group to bring “brand development opportunities and economies of scale to all partners".
“This is a landmark deal because it goes beyond traditional sponsorship and is a world-first agreement for an airline group," said James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive.
The news follows Etihad’s announcement last month that it would tie up with WME | IMG to sponsor its 14 foodie-focused Taste Festivals taking place around the world in 2016, including Taste of London and Taste of Dubai.
Known around the world as the sponsor of Manchester City, Etihad sponsors more than 100 sports and cultural events around the world. The airline has extended its endorsements of football clubs around the world to include Major League Soccer in the United States, Melbourne City Football Club and New York City Football Club as well as the UAE’s Al Ain Football Club and Al Ittihad Football Club.
It also sponsors the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Abu Dhabi Tour, Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship and Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
Etihad also sponsors the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship as well as England national teams for men’s, women’s and disability cricket.