As Swiss International Air Lines prepares to launch its non-stop service from Zurich to San Francisco the airline has unveiled a new special aircraft livery to commemorate the route.
As much as I enjoy special airline liveries being introduced by airlines, I have to wonder if the new paint scheme chosen by Swiss International Air Lines is a big mistake, on two fronts.
The somewhat minor marketing error in the airline’s new aircraft livery is the term “direct” when in fact the route is “non-stop.” An airline generally markets flights as “direct” if there is one stop in the middle, whereas a “non-stop” flight has … well … no-stops. Swiss International Air Lines painting the word “direct” on the side of the Airbus A340-313x is a marketing gaff that should be corrected before the aircraft is put into service.
The larger issue with Swiss International Air Lines’ new San Francisco paint job is that it would have been appropriate for the Summer of Love, which occurred 42 years ago…8 years before I was born, 24 years before the first Airbus A340 ever flew and 35 years before Swiss International Air Lines was created.
Granted, many people around the world associate San Francisco with hippies, peace symbols, psychedelic images and tie-dye, but in 2010, The San Francisco Bay Area’s tie to Zurich is advanced technology, science and global finance. The high yield business traffic linking San Francisco and Zurich should be at the forefront of the marketing scheme for this route, not an outdated image that while cute, has nothing to do with the current relationship between San Francisco and Zurich.
…what is the current relationship between San Francisco and Zurich? Well on the 13th of November 2003 the two cities became “Sister Cities” and created a Memorandum of Understanding creating the Sister City Relationship Between The Cities of San Francisco and Zurich.
In this Sister City relationship the number one clause was for the two cities to establish a non-stop airline link between the two airports on a year round basis, linking the San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Zurich Area, to create a link between the two “growing gateways.”
The second clause in the Sister City relationship is to establish an artist in residence program, followed by environmental sustainability, biotechnology and life science, government personnel exchange and exchange of highly successful students.
None of the reasons that Zurich and San Francisco sought to become Sister Cities is depicted in the new Swiss International Air Lines’ “Hippie Express” livery.
Granted some people like the new Swiss International Air Lines livery … namely my nine-year-old daughter (who is sitting next to me at the moment telling me how cool this new plane looks).
Give the significance of the Zurich-San Francisco route for Swiss International Air Lines; I would have expected a livery that represented some part of why the two cities are linked … or if the airline was deadest on a “cute” livery, at least a depiction of the Alps being linked to the Hills of San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge.
What is your opinion of the new San Francisco livery from Swiss International Air Lines?
Below is an image of the soon to be launched Airbus A340-313x that will fly the inaugural Zurich-San Francisco route on the 2nd of June 2010.
(Click For Larger Image)