British Airways ethnic liveries

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BA ethnic tail Market Day on an Embraer ERJ 145

In 1997 British Airways (BA) adopted a new livery. One part of this was a newly stylised version of the British Airways "Speedbird" logo, the "Speedmarque", but the major change was the introduction of tail-fin art. Also known as the Utopia or world image tailfins, they used art and designs from international artists and other sources to represent countries on BA's route network. The signature of the artist was carried near the design on the tail.

The new corporate logo was created by the London-based design agency Newell and Sorrell, who also oversaw the implementation of the tailfin designs.

The German designs refer to the BA subsidiary Deutsche BA, and the Australian designs to BA's alliance with Qantas.

History[edit]

Launch and Reception[edit]

Our existing livery has served us well. It helped transform our company in preparation for privatisation. Now all of our research is telling us we must change again, to prepare for the exciting new era that the new millennium will bring.
 ...
The identity we unveil publicly today is that of a global, caring company, more modern, more open, more cosmopolitan, but proud to be based in Britain.

 — Bob Ayling, Why we are changing our identity, speech of 10 June 1997[1]

The adoption of this aircraft livery was seen as a move away from the traditional British image of the carrier. BA claimed that the previous Landor Associates scheme carried an air of arrogance and detachment,[2][3] and insisted that the new tailfins were popular with international travellers. In addition to the new tail art, the crest and motto "To Fly To Serve" were dropped from the livery to make the airline appear more "global and caring."[2] In his speech at the launch, Chief Executive Bob Ayling declared that BA needed "a corporate identity that will enable [it] to become not just a UK carrier, but a global airline that is based in Britain" and the airline should better reflect the international image of the UK as "friendly, diverse and open to other cultures."[1] The total cost of the rebranding was estimated at GB£60 million,[4] of which GB£2m was paid to artists and the Newell and Sorrell design firm.[2]

The initial rollout consisted of 15 distinct tail art designs.[5] Quentin Newark later called the initiative "incredibly brave" and praised the work of Newell and Sorrell as "expressive [and] gleeful".[6]

Former PM Margaret Thatcher covered the tailfin of a model 747 painted with Animals and Trees like this one.

However, they were unpopular with many traditionalists in the UK, despite nine of the designs being inspired by either England, Scotland or Wales. Flight crews derided the new designs as "Air Zulu."[7] Jonathan Glancey criticized the Utopia project as "muddle-headed and messy - ethnic designs turned into the equivalent of doll's-house wallpaper, things applied but not belonging", failing to give the airline a cohesive identity. Glancey added the ethnic designs "had the net effect of trivialising art and design from around the world", comparing their display to the patronising attitude of the colonial era British Empire.[8] Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher showed her displeasure at the designs by covering one of the new tailfins (Animals and Trees) on a model 747 with tissue paper. She declared, "We fly the British flag, not these awful things" in 1997.[9][10] Thatcher also indicated with these fins the airline would lose its identity.[11][12] Amongst BA passengers, the highest rate of disapproval for the new designs was registered by business travelers between North America and Great Britain.[7]

Virgin Atlantic took advantage of the controversy by applying a Union flag scheme to the front end of its aircraft.[13] In their own 1999 relaunch, the flag was also applied to the vertical winglets of Virgin Atlantic's aircraft.[14][15]

Review of use[edit]

While the majority of the designs were applied to a variety of aircraft models, one scheme (the stylised version of the Chatham Dockyard Union Flag) was used on Concorde only. By 1999, BA had repainted around half its fleet (170 aircraft) in its new colours but then Chief Executive, Bob Ayling, announced a review of this process. The aircraft already repainted would keep the new designs, but the remainder of the fleet (still showing the pre-1997 union flag design) would receive a variant of Concorde's Union Flag design.[16] The announcement was timed to divert some attention from Virgin's relaunch. Chris Holt, the head of design management at BA who led the Utopia Project, resigned in October 1999.[4]

G-BNLH with Wings tail (1999)

A single 747-400 leased from British Airways to Qantas in 2000, registered as VH-NLH whilst operating in Australia (formerly G-BNLH), wore a hybrid livery complete with the Denmark Wings tail design. Under service with Qantas, the British Airways titles were removed and replaced with Qantas' own, but the remainder of the livery was left unchanged.[17]

Finally in May 2001 the new Chief Executive, Rod Eddington, announced the entire fleet would receive the new Union flag livery.[7] Eddington argued that while an attempt to increase the airline's appeal was not a bad thing, the exercise hurt the image of the carrier among its core customers — those that are attracted by the British identity, which the ethnic tailfins diluted somewhat. Eddington's opinions were echoed by Adam Hill, founder and partner of the advertising agency Designate, who stated that "name and logo are just small parts of the puzzle: to customers, the pride and heritage of this very British brand is what appeals, and swapping that out in order to appear modern and multicultural resulted in the very essence of the brand being diluted."[18]

G-MEDA with Whale Rider (2001)

The final aircraft with a "Utopia" tail (Whale Rider) was retired in 2006, an Airbus A320-200 registered G-MEDA. Two Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft continued to operate with "Utopia" tails (G-BRYU, Benyhone Tartan; G-BRYV, Colum) for regional service.[12]

World tail liveries[edit]

British Airways World Art tail liveries[19]
Name Artist Summary Origin Reg. Nums Qty Image
Chatham Dockyard Union Flag[a] Introduced on Concorde for relaunch, now the livery for entire fleet United Kingdom G-BOAA, BOAB, BOAC, BOAD, BOAE, BOAF, BOAG 7 (Concorde) ChathamDockyardUnionFlag.jpg
Animals and trees[a] (Kg'oocoan heé naka hìian theé e) Cg'ose Ntcox'o Artist is of the Ncoakhoe People of the Kalahari Desert; depicts seven jackals at an oasis.[20] Botswana G-BNLZ, CPEL, DOCD, VIIK, EMBD, BXAS, BGDT, 8 Boeing 737-236-Adv, British Airways AN1629613 (cropped).jpg
Avignon Jim Avignon Contemporary German art Germany D-ADBU 7 Boeing 737-31S, Deutsche BA AN0067038 (cropped).jpg
Bavaria (Edelweiss) German art Germany D-ADBH 4 Deutsche BA Boeing 737-3L9; D-ADBH, March 1998 CUT (5066347069) (cropped).jpg
Benyhone[a] (Mountain of the Birds) Peter MacDonald Anglicized Gaelic for "Mountain of the Birds", a Scottish tartan design using colours from William Wilson & Son of Bannockburn.[21] Scotland G-BGDL, BIKL 25 G-BGDL B737-236 BA Benyhone MAN 08JUL00 (6142262276) (cropped).jpg
Blomsterang (Flower Field) Ulrica Hydman Vallien Artist works for a glassware manufacturer in Småland. This design is taken from a large glass bowl with a hearts and flowers theme.[22] Sweden G-BDXG, BMRI, DOCE 7 G-DOCE B737-436 Brit Aws MAN 05MAY00 (6291871790) (cropped).jpg
Blue Poole[a] Sally Tuffin Taken from a dish and vase designed by Tuffin for Poole.[23] England G-BKYB, CPEM 9 G-BKYB B737-236 British Aws MAN 11SEP98 (6143810339) (cropped).jpg
British Blend Simon Balwin Coffee cup design, result of New Britain competition, used on a single A320, G-BUSI United Kingdom G-BUSI[24] 1
British Olympic Team (Teaming up for Britain) Mark Pickthall Adopted for 2000 Summer Olympics, features British Olympic Association lion logo designed by Pickthall for Ion River Design.[25] United Kingdom G-BKYG, BMRC, BUSC 3 G-BKYG B737-236 British Aws MAN 13JUL98 (6143813901) (cropped).jpg
Chelsea Rose Pierce Casey Representation of the English rose, based on visits by Casey to parks and gardens in Chelsea and Battersea.[26] England G-DOCG, BNNL, BDXK, BNLA, BNLL, BYGA, BYGC, BYGF, CIVA, CIVB, BMRD, BIKB, BNWR, BNWE, BNWB, VIIS, VIIO, BVTK, BZAV, MAJL, MSKN, BRYI, N495MC 23 193ae - British Airways Boeing 747-436, G-BNLA@LHR,19.11.2002 - Flickr - Aero Icarus (cropped).jpg
Colour Down the Side[a] Terry Frost Abstract Cornish painting by Frost in 1968.[27] Used on a single Dash 8 of Brymon Airways (BA Citiexpress) England G-BRYT 1 G-BRYT Dash 8-311A BA-Brymon MAN 11AUG00 (6828932331) (cropped).jpg
Colum[a] (Dove) Timothy O'Neill Anglicized Irish for "Dove": a Celtic design to evoke the memory of St Columba.[28] Ireland G-CPEP, DOCX, MSKB, OMUC 24 38bw - British Airways Boeing 737-400; G-DOCX@ZRH;23.08.1998 (8055984882) (cropped).jpg
Crossing Borders[a] (عبر الحدود) Chant Avedissian Reuse of Islamic and Pharaonic images and colour based on the decorations of the tentmakers of Cairo.[29] Egypt G-BIKT, DOCT, OGBE, MSKO, MEDD 5 G-BIKT B757-236 British Aws(Crossing Bdrs) MAN 28JUN02 (8231164019) (cropped).jpg
Delftblue Daybreak[a] (Delftsblauwe Dageraad) Hugo Kaagman Delft pottery design. Uses "the traditions of the past and [modernises] them for the future."[30] Netherlands G-BZHB, MSKE, OHAJ, RAES 16 G-RAES B777-236ER British Aws LHR 30JUN99 (6776530259) (cropped).jpg
Golden Khokhloma Taisia Akimovna Belyantzeva Officially Kudrina from Semenov (Сеmёновская кудриа). Based on painted khokhloma decoration on tableware set by Belyantzeva in 1978.[31] Russia G-BIKH, XMAN, BNWJ 3 Boeing 757-236, British Airways AN0134582 (cropped).jpg
Gothic (Calligraphy) German art Germany D-ADBM 4 Boeing 737-31S, Deutsche BA JP6024673 (cropped).jpg
Grand Union Christine Bass Result of a Sunday Times competition. Based on traditional English canal boat art from walks Bass has taken with her family along the Grand Union Canal in Buckinghamshire.[32] United Kingdom G-BMRJ, DOCH 6 G-BMRJ 2 B757-236 BA LHR 11AUG99 (6628801487) (cropped).jpg
Kogutki Lowickie[a] Danula Wojda Sometimes spelled Koguty Lowickie, meaning Cockerel of Lowicz. Based on paper cut-out of cockerels, peacocks and flower.[33] Unique variant "Flowers of Mazowsze" applied to G-OGBC Poland G-BPED, DOCF, OGBC 10 G-BPED B757-236 Brit Aws MAN 05MAY00 (6628796899) (cropped).jpg
L'esprit Liberté Celebrating human rights movement International F-GIOI, GPVA 12 Air Liberté Fokker 100; F-GIOI, October 1998 DTT (5163688461) (cropped).jpg
La Pyramide du Louvre One aircraft painted with image of central courtyard of Louvre museum France F-GPZA 3 McDonnell Douglas MD-83, Air Liberte JP10298 (cropped).jpg
Nalanji Dreaming The Balarinji Design Studio Aboriginal art, originally designed in 1995 for Qantas and painted on a B747-300 aircraft (VH-EBU). Nalanji means "our place".[34][35] Environmental preservation theme.[36] Australia G-BMRH, BNLN 2 G-BMRH B757-236 British Aws(Nalangi) MAN 30MAR02 (8131592356) (cropped).jpg
Ndebele Emmly[a] Emmly Masanabo Officially named Emmly Masanabo after the artist, who is of the Ndebele people. Based on a panel decorated with beads and mural-style painting; a similar panel was produced by the artist's twin sister Martha, commonly known as Ndebele Martha.[37] South Africa G-BIKC, BNLO, MSKL 3 G-BIKC B757-236 BA MAN 24SEP98 (6602561951) (cropped).jpg
Ndebele Martha[a] Martha Masanabo Officially named Martha Masanabo after the artist, who is of the Ndebele people. Based on a panel decorated with beads and mural-style painting; a similar panel was produced by the artist's twin sister Emmly, commonly known as Ndebele Emmly.[38] South Africa G-BIKW, DOCU 11 G-DOCU B737-436 British Aws(Ndebele Martha) MAN 01MAY02 (8183450594) (cropped).jpg
Paithani (पैठणी) Meera Mehta Based on a sari designed by Mehta using traditional motifs from the textile industry in Paithan. Features 'asavari' creeper border with flowering shrubs and parrots.[39] India G-BDXO, BMRA, EMBI 3 87ao - British Airways Boeing 757-236; G-BMRA@ZRH;05.03.2000 (8063425880) (cropped).jpg
Pause to remember Poppy design, used around Remembrance Day. Now applied to fuselage United Kingdom G-BIKW, BKYG, BMRB 3 G-BIKW B757-236 BA(Poppy) MAN 28NOV99 (6602563669) (cropped).jpg
Rendezvous[a] (约会) Yip Man-Yam Chinese calligraphy of a poem describing water boiling.[40] Hong Kong G-BGJE, OAMS, DOCM, DOCW, BYGE, BYGD, BYGG, BNLR, CIVV, BIKN, BMRE, BMRG, CPEU, CPEV, CPEU, BNWC, BNWP, VIIT, ZZZC, BRYY, MANO, MEDB 22 Boeing 737-236-Adv, British Airways AN1629612 (cropped).jpg
Spring (Primāvara) Morag Dumetru Images of Romania.[41] Winner of employee contest. Romania G-BIKY 1 Boeing 757-236, British Airways AN0134580 (cropped).jpg
Sterntaler[a] (Bauhaus) Antje Brüggemann Based on 3-D 'ceramic objects' art.[42] Germany G-CPET, OFRA, D-ADBK 14 G-OFRA B737-36Q BA MAN 24SEP98 (6241630125) (cropped).jpg
Water Dreaming (Ngapa Jukurrpa) Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri Art representing northern Australian terrain.[43] Australia G-BKYE, BMRF, BUSJ, EMBG 4 British Airways Boeing 757-236; G-BMRF, September 1997 (5659121513) (cropped).jpg
Waves and Cranes[a] (波と鶴) Matazō Kayama Also known as Nami Tsuru. Nihonga painting of waves and cranes, symbolizing the cosmic world and the soul of Japan.[44] Japan G-BGDJ 13 Boeing 757-236, British Airways JP193462 (cropped).jpg
Waves of the City[a] Jenifer Kobylarz Simple and modern abstract art meant to "convey a sense of frozen motion."[45] United States G-BIKJ, DOCR 13 G-BIKJ B757-236 British Aws MAN 12JUN98 (6602553383) (cropped).jpg
Whale Rider[a] Joe David From wood carving representing the whaling tradition of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations.[46] Canada G-BGDO, CPEO 9 Boeing 737-236-Adv, British Airways AN1629614 (cropped).jpg
Wings (Vinger) Per Arnoldi Modernist representation of seagulls in flight.[47] Denmark G-BNLH, CPES 13 G-BNLH B747-436 BA MAN 19JUL99 (6546311393) (cropped).jpg
Wunala Dreaming The Balarinji Design Studio Like Nalanji Dreaming, this livery was designed for Qantas in 1994 and appeared on two B747-400 aircraft: VH-OJB and VH-OEJ. Based on an original painting inspired by "the natural colors of Australia" and executed by the Yanyuwa people.[34][35] The title translates to "Kangaroo Dreaming".[48] Australia G-BIKF, BNLS 2 British Airways Boeing 757-236; G-BIKF, November 1998 (5424546384) (cropped).jpg
Youm al-Suq (Market Day) Shadia Alem Abstract inspired by Arab life on market day.[49] Saudi Arabia G-GBTA 1 G-GBTA B737-436 British Aws MAN 26MAY99 (6302844348) (cropped).jpg
Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Part of the original 15 designs introduced (the two designs from the Masanabo twins were counted as one, Ndebele).[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ayling, Bob (10 June 1997). "Building a New BA: Why we are changing our identity". British Airways. Archived from the original on 20 February 1999.
  2. ^ a b c Martson, Paul (11 June 1997). "BA stops flying the flag in ₤60m facelift". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 25 March 2002. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  3. ^ Clark, Andrew (9 September 2002). "Tail of woe". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b Teather, David (27 October 1999). "Taking Flight - BA's ethnic tailfin man leaves". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Building a New BA: Sky High Art". British Airways. Archived from the original on 20 February 1999.
  6. ^ Saner, Emine (31 August 2011). "The artists' artist: graphic designers". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Marston, Paul (11 May 2001). "BA restores Union flag design to all tailfins". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  8. ^ Glancey, Jonathan (11 June 1999). "Captain Bob and his coat of many colours". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  9. ^ Shrimsley, Robert (10 October 1997). "Fly the flag, Thatcher tells BA". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 6 September 2004. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  10. ^ Clancy, Rebecca; Roland, Denise (5 September 2013). "When logo changes go wrong". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  11. ^ Classic Thatcher on BA on YouTube
  12. ^ a b Wastnage, Justin (26 April 2006). "Pictures: Final BA ethnic tail leaves Heathrow services as BMed Airbus A320 returned to lessor". Flight Global. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  13. ^ Ruddick, Graham (26 August 2016). "Virgin v British Airways: Was the Corbyn saga part of the old rivalry?". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  14. ^ McGhie, Tom (28 February 1999). "Virgin flies the flag with 2,000 new jobs". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  15. ^ Walters, Joanna (3 October 1999). "When two airlines go to war". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  16. ^ McIlroy, A J; Marston, Paul (7 June 1999). "British Airways is to fly the flag again on half its fleet". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 20 March 2002. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  17. ^ "VH-NLH. Boeing 747-436. c/n 24050-779". Aussie Airliners. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  18. ^ Coleman, Alison (8 October 2015). "When branding campaigns go wrong". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  19. ^ "British Airways Liveries 1974-2015". Yesterday's Airlines. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  20. ^ Cgoise. "Animals and Trees". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  21. ^ MacDonald, Peter. "Mountain of the Birds". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  22. ^ Hydman-Vallien, Ulrica. "Flower Field". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  23. ^ Tuffin, Sally. "Blue Poole". British Airways. Archived from the original on 7 October 2018.
  24. ^ Bonfizz, Keld (July 1998). "G-BUSI OYKS 7-1998P". flickr. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  25. ^ Pickthall, Mark. "British Olympic Team". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  26. ^ Casey, Pierce. "Chelsea Rose". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  27. ^ Frost, Terry. "[untitled]". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  28. ^ O'Neill, Timothy. "Colum". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  29. ^ Avedissian, Chant. "Crossing Borders". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  30. ^ Kaagman, Hugo. "Delftblue Daybreak". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  31. ^ Belyantzeva, Taisia Akimovna. "Kudrina from Semenov". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  32. ^ Bass, Christine. "Grand Union". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  33. ^ Wojda, Danuda. "Cockerel of Lowicz". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  34. ^ a b "Flying Art Series". Qantas. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  35. ^ a b "Qantas announces special indigenous aircraft livery" (Press release). Qantas. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  36. ^ The Balarinji Design Studio. "Nalanji Dreaming". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  37. ^ Masanabo, Emmly. "Emmly Masanabo". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  38. ^ Masanabo, Martha. "Martha Masanabo". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  39. ^ Mehta, Meera. "Paithani". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  40. ^ Yip Man-Yam. "Rendezvous". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  41. ^ Dumetru, Morag. "Spring". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  42. ^ Brüggemann, Antje. "[untitled]". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  43. ^ Tjapaltjarri, Clifford Possum. "Water Dreaming". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  44. ^ Kayama, Matazo. "Waves and Cranes". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  45. ^ Kobylarz, Jenifer. "Waves of the City". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  46. ^ David, Joe. "Whale Rider". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  47. ^ Arnoldi, Per. "Wings". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  48. ^ The Balarinji Design Studio. "Wunala Dreaming". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.
  49. ^ Alem, Shadia. "Youm al-Suq". British Airways. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019.

External links[edit]