WASHINGTON – Turkish Airlines celebrated the World Football Challenge with Manchester United and FC Barcelona during a weekend of festivities and a special appearance by Kobe Bryant, the Airline’s Global Brand Ambassador.
With 82,000 fans in attendance, Kobe Bryant and renowned Turkish columnist Ertugrul Ozkok stepped onto the pitch at half time to take penalty kicks to benefit the Manchester United Foundation. Kobe Bryant also presented the “Turkish Airlines” trophy to Manchester United’s world-class defender Nemanja Vidic. Manchester United won the match against Barcelona 2-1.
The Manchester United team returned to England at 12:45 a.m. local time aboard Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 777 Anadolu.
Saturday’s match was the highlight of a month long series of appearances by Manchester United around the U.S.
“Turkish Airlines is honored to work with Kobe Bryant, FC Barcelona and Manchester United,” said Dr. Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Airlines. “This weekend was a great representation of the Airlines’ partnerships across the international sports community.”
In addition to the match, Kobe Bryant also made an appearance and participated in Sunday’s Celebrity Soccer Challenge at Kastles Stadium. The 7 on 7 charity game was played by celebrities, professional athletes and local media personalities in support of the Mia Hamm Foundation and Children’s National Medical Center. The celebrity team included members of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger, NBA player Jef Green, and Barcelona Head Coach Pep Cuardiola.
Following the game, Kobe Bryant, FC Barcelona players, team captain Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique attended the Turkish Airlines press conference.
A pioneer in the aviation industry and a member of the Star Alliance network since April 1, 2008, Turkish Airlines is known for its impeccable service, flight safety and connectivity worldwide. Turkish Airlines currently flies to 187 destinations, including 146 international and 41 domestic lines. In the Americas, Turkish Airlines currently offers non-stop direct flights from New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Toronto and Sao Paulo.
At the World Airline Awards in June, Skytrax named Turkish Airlines “Best Airline Europe,” “Best Premium Economy Seats” for its all-new Comfort Class and “Best Airline Southern Europe.” The awards were based on a 10-month consumer satisfaction survey in which 18.8 million airline customers participated.