BA Bows to the Inevitable: Axes Ethnic Tailfins

14 May 2001

Having withstood the wrath of Baroness Thatcher (who publicly draped her handkerchief over the ‘world image’ tailfin of a model BA aircraft), British Airways has finally caved-in to the critics of its ill-fated foray into multicultural branding.

New[-ish] chief executive Rod Eddington this weekend reversed the decision of his ousted predecessor Robert Ayling and ordered that the tailfins revert to the traditional Union flag. The flag will be restored to all craft in BA’s 338-strong fleet.

Said a BA spoke: “Britishness has been at the core of BA and that view is held worldwide. In motoring, BMW is associated with quality and makes no bones about its being German. In the same way, we see ourselves as being a quality, British airline.”

Boarding passes, ticket wallets, baggage tags and business cards will also be redesigned to reflect the new/old branding.

The original decision to switch from the Union flag to a ‘world image’ theme was strongly opposed from the outset in 1997 when then chief executive Ayling announced that sixty per cent of BA passengers were non-Britons and thought the old livery “a bit stuffy”. His defustification of the branding incurred a cool £60 million in costs and worldwide derision.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)