Lightweight Coating Provides Fuel Savings for Manchester United Aircraft

The Manchester United football club has a huge following in Asia. In honor of its sponsorship as the official low-fare airline for Manchester United, AirAsia's in-house design team created a special tribute on one of the company's new A320 Airbus aircraft, making Manchester United the first football club in the world to have its own aircraft livery.

AirAsia specifies Akzo Nobel Aerospace Coatings (ANAC) products for its entire fleet. The striking red background, provided by ANAC's Aviox 77702 Finish topcoat, was chosen by AirAsia's A320 project team, headed by the airline's Director and Co-Founder Conor McCarthy, because of its weight saving benefits and subsequent fuel savings. The superior gloss quality of the new product also met the high standards set for the airline's branding image.

The rest of the design, which features the club crest and six of its star players, including Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Christiano Renaldo, alongside Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, is achieved using a mixture of adhesive decals and clever paintwork.

"Airlines spend millions on different ways of cutting the weight of aircraft to save on fuel costs, looking at everything from floor panels to seating," commented ANAC's Product Manager Robert Van Kooperen. "The weight of coatings can, and does, make a measurable difference in this respect. With current technology, it's now possible to cut the coating weight without compromising on performance. Our new generation Aviox 77702 thin-film topcoat is typically about 15% lighter than previous products and in most colors achieves its optimum performance in just two coats."

Known as the Red Devil Airbus, the new aircraft was delivered from Toulouse, France in February this year. It can be seen operating on point to point routes between Kuching; Kota Kinabalu; Penang; Miri; Surabaya, Indonesia; Phuket; Langkawi; Bintulu and Bangkok.

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