Budget airline rebrands ‘Z’ symbol logo amid Russia war symbol comparison

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A Japanese budget airline has rebranded its “Z” logo and plane design following comparisons with the war symbol used by Russia in Ukraine since February.

In an announcement last week, Tokyo-based Zipair said it would move away from the “Z” design with immediate effect.

Russian forces have used the symbol as a sign of support for president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with the “Z” sign appearing on tanks and across Russian media.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Zipair president Shingo Nishida said the airline would replace all its tail fins with a geometric pattern immediately.

All Zipair aircraft were rebranded with a geometric pattern ahead of the press conference, the announcement suggested, with the design replacing the “Z” previously used on Zipair tail fins

The renovation work will take place in two stages, the airline said, with all current Zipair aircraft rebranded immediately and future aircraft featuring a full-scale geometric design.

The redesign of the Zipair tail fin removes the ‘Z’ (Zipair)
The redesign of the Zipair tail fin removes the ‘Z’ (Zipair)

Mr Nishida, as CNN reported on Monday, acknowledged that his airlines’ clients and customers had expressed concerns about the “Z” symbol – not dissimilar to that used by Russia.

The redesign was however planned before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and the subsequent use of the letter by pro-Kremlin forces and supporters, Mr Nishida was reported as saying.

Zipair, which is a subsidiary of Japan Airlines, is due to begin flying from the country’s capital to San Jose, California, from December 2022. The non-stop service is a part of the airline’s post-Covid expansion.

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