Low-cost Japanese airline Zipair has been forced to rethink its logo because the airline’s president fears passengers might think it symbolises support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The budget carrier launched in 2018 with the letter ‘Z’ featuring prominently as a standalone logo including on its aircraft tailfins, but on Wednesday, Zipair announced it was “renovating” the logo for a post-pandemic era.
A letter 'Z' is displayed on tanks, trucks and other army vehicles. Now it’s being used everywhere in russia as a symbol of… what? pic.twitter.com/ZgoQlc4siW— Tanya (@helloitistanya) March 5, 2022
The letter ‘Z’ has been abandoned as a standalone logo and instead replaced with a criss-cross geometric pattern logo. The airline is so keen to wipe any history of the ‘Z’ logo that it is going to cover up tailfins with temporary plastic decals while the aircraft await a long-lasting repaint.
The urgency of the rebranding prompted journalists to ask Zipair’s president Shingo Nishida whether the airline was concerned that passengers might draw parallels with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian army adopted the ‘Z’ logo at the start of the invasion by painting the letter on the side of vehicles as a means of identifying Russian-affiliated units. The ‘Z’ letter was quickly adopted as a way for people to demonstrate support for the invasion and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When asked if passengers might become confused and think Zipair was displaying the ‘Z’ logo in support of the Putin regime, Nishida replied: “I think some people might feel that way when they see it without any explanation.”
In fact, the brand consultancy that originally designed Zipair’s logo hoped that the letter would symbolise the ‘ultimate’.
Established by Japan Airlines to appeal to a younger demographic of budget-conscious travellers, Zipair operates Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft from Tokyo Narita to Bangkok, Seoul, Honolulu, Singapore and Los Angeles.
Earlier this week, Zipair also announced plans to serve San Jose airport in California from December 2022. The airline had hoped for a rapid expansion to serve the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games but the pandemic has severely delayed Zipair’s business plans.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.