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350-seater plane for Team Pacquiao

Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao. (MB photo | Czar Dancel)

A 350-seat customized Airbus jet will ferry Manny Pacquiao and his entourage on June 24 to Brisbane, site of the Filipino star’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title defense against Jeff Horn on July 2.

“I am chartering an AirAsia plane,” Pacquiao told the Bulletin after another intense workout in General Santos City where he will stage the most crucial stage of his buildup for the first defense of the WBO 147-lb crown at Suncorp Stadium.

Pacquiao’s family members, training team and select Senate staff as well as avid supporters are joining the eight-division champion in the seven hour and 15 minute flight from General Santos City that has a distance of 3,000 miles.

That same plane will bring back Team Pacquiao to General Santos City the day after the fight that will be witnessed by an expected sellout crowd of 55,000.

Leasing a plane to go to the venue of his fight is not new to Pacquiao, who hired a Boeing 757 in 2010 to bring him and his entourage from Los Angeles to see him beat up Mexican Antonio Margarito in Dallas.

In 2014, Pacquiao pulled off the same trick when he chartered a pair of AirAsia A320s to fly him and over 400 people from General Santos City to Macau where he beat up Chris Algieri.

This time, the 38-year-old Pacquiao is getting a bigger plane, an A330 for the long-awaited journey to Australia.

Air Asia top executive Erick Arejola says the contract is being finalized.

Pacquiao’s penchant for tagging along his friends to his fights is legendary.