Monday, May 4, 2015

R2 - D2 Takes to the Skies with Freight and Passengers Aboard

May the Fourth Be With You
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – WORLDWIDE – A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY – Looks like R2-D2 got a huge new upgrade ahead of the new series of movies, after All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced last month (which as you can see from the headline we think was the wrong date) it is introducing Star Wars livery, with the iconic little droid on its newest aircraft 787-9 Dreamliner to mark the beginning of a five-year ANA Star Wars™ Project and agreement with The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd. This marks the first time a Star Wars character will appear on the exterior of a passenger or freight commercial airliner.

The R2-D2 design was unveiled to Star Wars fans on April 16, 2015 at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, just months prior to the character’s appearance on international flights in autumn of this year.

The Star Wars livery is in line with ANA’s strategy to further enhance its international presence. Last spring, the carrier significantly expanded its international flight network from Haneda and Narita airports in Tokyo. With demand increasing around the world for flights to Japan and routes linking the United States with Asia, ANA is committed to raising the profile of the ANA brand in the global market through such innovative partnerships and branding opportunities as this. The partnership with Star Wars, beloved by audiences in Japan and around the globe, is considered a perfect match as Japan’s largest airline seeks to connect travellers around the world through this project. Takashi Shiki, ANA Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, said:

"ANA boasts an extensive international network, along with convenient connections between the US and a wide variety of destinations throughout Asia. Although it’s a lofty goal, we hope that like Star Wars, ANA will become well known and loved across all borders and generations. The R2-D2 motif works well with ANA’s blue logo design on the aircraft’s fuselage, and many people associate R2-D2 with competent and reliable service-also hallmarks of ANA’s 5-star service. We are particularly delighted to introduce this collaboration now as we prepare to launch our new international service from Tokyo to Houston in June, making it our 10th North American destination. Through the introduction of the new Star Wars livery we hope to welcome more passengers from around the world to experience ANA as the Inspiration of Japan."