Emirates Team New Zealand
Emirates Airline on Wednesday announced its continued support of Emirates Team New Zealand, as the team took further steps forward towards mounting its challenge for the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco, with the launch of an AC 45 catamaran.
The launch took place at the team’s Viaduct Harbour base in Auckland.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, said the airline was continuing its support of Emirates Team New Zealand due to the fact that the yachting team had consistently proven itself both as a top competitor and a brand-builder.
“The decision also underlines our commitment to New Zealand at a time when the country is demonstrating its own strengths and resilience in the face of adversity,”
“Whether it be the America’s Cup, the MedCup or the Louis Vuitton Trophy series, Emirates Team New Zealand has shown the fighting spirit and inspiration for which the country is renowned. We are very pleased to continue our support of Emirates Team New Zealand,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
Emirates Team New Zealand Managing Director Grant Dalton, who has devoted the past six months to securing funding for the challenge, said the response had been encouraging.
“We have made considerable progress because the Emirates Team New Zealand brand is an international leader, well recognised in the sport. Emirates Airline has been with the team since 2004 and their decision to stay with us is important. We are fortunate to have such loyal and committed sponsors,” said Dalton.
Dalton paid tribute to the many sponsors and suppliers – including Emirates, Toyota New Zealand, a sponsor for 20 years, and Omega, a sponsor for 18 years - who have stood by the team in the hard times since the end of the 32nd America’s Cup at Valencia in 2007.
Dalton said the team had paid an initial fee to America’s Cup Race Management to secure access to a supplied one-design AC45. The yacht and wing sail were delivered to the Emirates Team New Zealand base over the past week for assembly by sailing and shore crews.
“The one-design AC45 catamaran will be raced in America’s Cup pre-regattas this year and next. They are an interim step until teams have built and are ready to campaign the AC72 catamaran which has been chosen by America’s Cup Race Management to contest the 2013 regatta,” said Emirates Team New Zealand chief operations Kevin Shoebridge.
Dalton said the team would make a further announcement on its involvement in the 2013 America’s Cup in a couple of months. “In the meantime we are developing the sailing team; the design team is working through concepts for the AC72 catamaran and we are continuing meeting with several potential sponsors.”
“Exposure for Emirates through the team and its global reach has helped put the airline on the map in many parts of the world and with many audiences. We hope there is now the chance of building further on this excellent foundation,”
“The features we saw in the team when we first backed it in 2004 are still there. As an award-winning airline (recently judged Airline of the Year 2011*), we can relate to its drive, focus, competitiveness and desire for excellence in all aspects of its operation,”
“In recent times, Emirates itself has increased its New Zealand commitment with its services, introducing the exceptional Emirates A380 superjumbo to the market and enhancing its three other daily services with the latest Boeing 777-300ER,” commented Sheikh Ahmed.