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Etihad Airways announced a partnership with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Thursday, officially becoming its sponsor. As part of the agreement, Etihad will support CSK’s events and platforms, with the Etihad logo featured on the players’ jerseys. This collaboration with the five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions follows Etihad’s recent appointment of Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif as its brand ambassador.

Arik De, Chief Revenue Officer of Etihad Airways, highlighted that the airline commenced operations in India two decades ago and has been actively investing in the country since its inception. This investment includes deploying top-quality aircraft and tailoring services to suit the preferences of customers across the ten cities where Etihad operates.

“So, the investment that we are announcing today is about CSK. Cricket is a huge part of this country and deepening that relationship for us is super important,” De told PTI in an interaction.

The collaboration with CSK was unveiled at Kalaivanar Arangam in Chennai, where team officials and CSK players, adorned in their new jerseys featuring the airline’s logo, joined the Etihad cabin crew on stage. A video of captain MS Dhoni’s iconic No.7 jersey unveiled at the glittering event captured the imagination of fans as it went viral on X, formerly Twitter.

“It is going to be a pretty deep partnership and we are going to unravel it slowly like a nice Bollywood movie unravelled itself,” De said.

“In the initial part, we are going to have a visibility in the stadium through a hospitality suite. We’re going to be the sponsors for the T-shirt (and) the back of the T-shirt. So that’s what how we going to kick it off,” he added.

Etihad’s decision to sponsor CSK stemmed from the team’s impressive record of winning the IPL championship five times since the tournament’s inception in 2008, aligning with Etihad’s own accolades, having secured five World Best Airline awards.

“So this is a journey that we are on together and there is going to be a lot more in this space,” he said.

“This (partnership) is also about making sure that we create a relationship that not only welcomes people but also deepens the market share. We are one of the leading airlines of India in terms of market share and we do not intend to go away from that track given our growth,” he said.

CSK Chief Executive Officer Kasi Viswanathan in a statement said, “This collaboration goes beyond the boundaries of a traditional sponsorship. It’s about creating an extraordinary experience for our fans and setting new standards in sports partnerships.”

Etihad Airways operates 165 flights weekly to 10 cities across India, facilitating passengers’ connections to 70 global destinations. The airline recently introduced new routes to Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, in addition to doubling the frequency of its Mumbai and Delhi flights from two to four.

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