Bucking the trend of its rival British Airways, the UK’s second largest carrier is to retain its British image when it unveils its new livery on Wednesday.

Industry pundits had predicted that British Midland would drop not only the Union Jack from its aircraft tailfins, but also the words ‘British’ and ‘Midland’, in a rebranding to coincide with the launch of its new transatlantic services [WAMN: 11-Dec-00].

But patriotism rules – thanks to the intervention of German state airline Lufthansa, a 20% stakeholder in British Midland. According to Lufthansa sales vp for Europe Ulrich Wachter: “It is extremely important in branding that ‘British’ is kept. Safety, reliability and high-quality service are all British assets and I think it should stay.”

Herr Wachter's opinion, however, differed from that of BM's autocratic ceo Sir Michael Bishop, who was said to favour national ambiguity. The world awaited the outcome with bated breath.

All was revealed on Friday when a photo of the new livery appeared in Skyport, the weekly staff magazine at Heathrow airport. A sigh of relief emanated from lovers of cricket and warm beer the world over - the Union Jack is proudly displayed on the aircraft’s tail and its wings and fuselage are resplendent in red, white and blue. Whew!

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)