Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Best Airline Re-Branding

Over the last four decades, we have had the opportunity to participate in or observe the rebranding of numerous airlines. Some were given a new identity because of new management or new marketing strategies, while others were re-branded because of new ownership or the merging into an airline group.

In the first category are case-studies such as JAL to Japan Airlines, Air Lanka to Sri Lankan, and Air Pacific to Fiji Airways. The national airline of Japan actually retained its name, but after 10 years with a modernistic non-descript use of its initials, it chose to revert to its original logo featuring its full name. In traditional Japanese culture, the red-crowned crane (Grus japonsensis) is viewed as a symbol of long life, and it is a powerful and effective symbol of how Japan uniquely cherishes ancient culture in cultivating an ultra-modern lifestyle.

Launched in 1979 as Air Lanka, the Sri Lankan flag-carrier was re-branded to SriLankan following its partial acquisition in 1998 by Emirates. After the Emirates partnership ended, the airline continued using its re-branded name, logo and livery. After 45 years as Air Pacific, stiff competition from the carriers of other Pacific Ocean nations forced a complete re-branding for the national airline of the Fiji Islands. It moved from a very regional image to a very specific identity as Fiji Airways, using local Masi art to create a distinctively Fijian airline. Merging into a larger group caused lovely Tyrolean Airways to become Austrian Arrows, Flugfélag Íslands and Loftleiðir to become Icelandair, and Aerolot to jointly form LOT Polish Airlines.

Image result for DragonairThe list of airlines re-branding under a larger group is very long, but to us, the most successful of these is the metamorphosis of Dragonair to Cathay Dragon, joining its sister-carrier Cathay Pacific in a stylish new simultaneous re-branding.
We believe The Best Airline Re-Branding is of Dragonair to  Cathay Dragon because it brings the healthy and growing carrier into an elegant and effective equal-partnership within the Cathay Pacific group. Each airline has an equally elegant livery of almost identical application, but in complementing different colours.

The new livery of Cathay Pacific and Cathay DragonIn 2006, Dragonair became part of the Cathay Pacific Group, and the two airlines have worked in increasing closeness to provide a synergy of connectivity and service from Hong Kong to about 200 destinations in mainland China and the rest of the world. It makes sense, therefore, that the new name deftly brings Cathay Dragon into the family while retaining its distinctive identity. The new livery of both airlines has been designed to align them more closely with each other, and we like the integration of that iconic Cathay Brushwing on the tail of all aircraft within the Group while maintaining a little updated version of the original Dragonair logo on the nose of Cathay Dragon aircraft.
The new hues are also distinctive and attractive – stylish with an understated dignity.  Overall, the new Corporate Identity of Cathay Dragon is clean, elegant and effective – well-deserving of our award for  The Best Airline Re-Branding.

Photographs by kalid.com.cn and Cathay Pacific Group