Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Tuesday, 5 February 2008

BA to sponsor London 2012 Games

British Airways planes
British Airways will fly the British team to the 2008 Beijing Olympics

British Airways (BA) has become the fourth official sponsor for the 2012 Olympics Games in London.

BA paid 40m for marketing rights and will be the British team's official carrier to the 2008 Games in Beijing and the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

It also pledged to introduce a travel bursary for athletes and be involved in training volunteers for 2012 Olympics.

Lloyds TSB, energy company EDF and Adidas are the three other major commercial sponsors of the games.

'Iconic brands'

BA had also supported the city's bid for the Olympics.

The company has said it will support community projects in west and east London where the event will be held.

Announcing BA's sponsorship at Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport, London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: "I can't remember when British Airways was not part of my sporting life... I'm thrilled that British Airways will continue to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes."

BA chief executive Willie Walsh said: "As one of Britain's most high-profile and iconic brands, it is right that we should sponsor the Games in our home city."

But Green Party London Assembly member Ms Jones said: "I'm staggered that the 2012 Games, supposed to be the greenest ever, will be sponsored by such a polluting business."

It should be seen as a huge failure that rather than promoting alternatives like the Eurostar, the London Games will be inextricably linked to flying
Jenny Jones, Green Party London Assembly member

She said the Olympics organisers must consider the "full environmental impact" of the games and "athletes and spectators flying into London will be a significant part of this".

Ms Jones added: "It should be seen as a huge failure that rather than promoting alternatives like the Eurostar, at least to European visitors, the London games will be inextricably linked to flying."

A London 2012 spokesman said: "We are committed to managing our carbon footprint and how we deal with impacts outside of our direct control will feature strongly in that."

But he added: "To suggest that we shouldn't have an airline partner fails to address how athletes will get to the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games this year and is not a realistic position."

He said London 2012's sponsorship deal with British Airways "in no way" restricted other forms of transport to or from the event.

Lloyds TSB has paid 80m, EDF has pledged 50m and Adidas has agreed on a 100m sponsorship investment for the games.



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