21 August 2009
Oakland California is one of several destinations AirAsia’s long-haul division, AirAsia X, is believed to be interested in operating to as its fleet grows. In an apparent move to lobby for this desire the airline has become the proud sponsor of the Oakland Raiders football team, which participates in the AFC west division of the NFL, unveiling an A340 used on its route from Kuala Lumpur to London Stansted which has been branded “Raiders”.
The outdoor advertising potential of aircraft has not been exploited to the same degree as buses and trams the world over - because aircraft travel between different countries their attraction as an advertising vehicle tends to be centred on global brands which easily travel across borders. Taking this forward into a more strategic vein benefiting network development, some airlines have also used their aircraft to promote destinations or regions served as well as related theme parks, hotels and major sporting events (football, Olympics, Formula 1 Grand Prix events).
Southwest has painted several of its many 737s in a colour scheme to promote a particular state, the most recent being “Illinois One” (one of the airline’s biggest bases is at Chicago Midway in the state of Illinois). Likewise, before being merged with US Airways America West operated a number of state-themed aircraft including “Ohio”.
In Europe Germanwings helped promote the launch of a new base at Berlin Schönefeld with the unveiling of a “Berlin bear” logojet while fellow German LCC hlx (now part of TUIfly.com) promoted routes to Austria and Italy with specially painted 737s in “Kärnten” and “Cagliari - south of Sardinia” colours. For a while SkyEurope promoted its winter ski flights to Austria with a special “Tirol” colour scheme. Cathay Pacific operated a “Hong Kong - World City” aircraft while on a smaller scale UK regional Eastern Airways flew a Saab 2000 with “Aberdeen - City and Shire” markings.
Regional airlines often uses a geographic reference in their names, a trend that has proven particularly popular in Germany (airberlin, Augsburg Airways, Bremenfly.com and Hamburg International). Some airlines, such as Dubrovnik Airline go as far as featuring a nice aerial view of their home town on the aircraft.
Germanwings and Travel Servis have gone so far as to brand one of their aircraft in the colours of their home airports, in this case Cologne/Bonn and Prague respectively. After the recent outbreak of swine flu in Mexico inbound tourism suffered so Mexicana combined with the Mexican Tourism Council to launch a “Vive México” campaign which involved large lettering on the sides of two A320s and two Fokker 100s.