AirAsia Launches On Line Megastore, Sells Toy Raiders Airplanes

Airlines and Aviation

A low cost airline, Air Asia now has its own on line shopping portal.

The site offers a wide range of things to buy, and many of them are sold for less than retail.

Items run from books to gadgets to fashion to sportswear. Not surprisingly, there are also model airplanes. The site is targeted at consumers all over the world. That includes, apparently, my hometown . . .

AirAsia Partners with Oakland Raiders

In case you didn’t know, AirAsia – a Malaysian based low budget carrier – announced a partnership with the Oakland Raiders last summer. Positioned as a win win strategy, it was intended as a means of raising the Raiders fan base outside the United States while building AirAsia’s reputation inside the United States.

As part of the alliance, an AirAsia A340 was painted in full Raiders livery, complete with the famous – or should I say infamous? – Silver and Black shield on the tale. It was christened “Xcellence” after the Raiders’ “Commitment to Excellence” motto. It made its first landing at Oakland International Airport last summer.

“We are extremely grateful,” said Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums.

“The Oakland Raiders are a global team, and AirAsia Xcellence has recognized that. I believe that that is extraordinarily significant.”

Inquring Minds

As a journalist, I have an inquiring mind. As a journalist that is also an Oakland Raiders fan, this is what I wanted to know: were there any Oakland Raiders tie-ins?

To find out, I first googled AirAsiaMegastore.com. Then I searched “Oakland Raiders”. And there it was, a model airplane in full Oakland Raiders regalia. At 1:200 scale, it sells for 139 Malaysian Rupees. I know what I want for my birthday!

Is Oakland Airport on AirAsia’s Radar Screen?

While AirAsia’s route network is currently focused on Asia, it has long term plans to launch service to the United States. There has even been speculation that with its choice of the Oakland Raiders as its NFL partner, its first US destination very well could be to my hometown, Oakland, California.

Oakland Airport has long been favoured by such budget carriers as JetBlue and Southwest. Its only international routes are currently to Mexico, with flights offered by both Mexicana and Volaris, a Mexican low budget carrier. There is also seasonal service to the Azores.

While two airlines – Hawaiian and Alaska – fly half way across the Pacific Ocean from Oakland to Hawai’i, there are currently no flights flying the rest of the way to Asia.

Up Close and Personal

On a personal level, it would be nice to be able to fly between my adopted home (in Asia) and my real home (in the United States) on an airplane painted in my favrourite football team’s colours (Silver and Black) . . .

Readers Respond

P. in San Francisco, California

Well, how great is that? Nothing more to ask for. So, I guess your Oakland and San Francisco friends may be seeing you soon. . . or at least next football season.

24 July 2010

Copyright: Michael Taylor Pictured: the Xcellence after landing at Oakland International Airport last summer with city, airline, and team officials. Photo Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders

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