Airline dumps ‘Z’ logo over Russia


Japanese airline Zipair will replace its tail symbol due to customer complaints

A low-cost Japanese airline changes the logo on the tail fins and replaces the letter “Z” with a geometric pattern, the president announced Friday. Shingo Nishida said Zipair took this step after receiving a number of customer complaints about the letter, which has been seen on some Russian military vehicles during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The “Z” was adopted as the company’s logo in 2018, when Zipair was first established as a subsidiary of Japan Airlines. The company said it plans to roll out the replacement design anyway, but will speed up the process to avoid the impression it was backing Russia.

“We can confirm that we have received some comments from customers regarding their feelings towards the design of the current colorway,” a Zipair spokesperson told CNN. “As a public transport company, we are aware that the letter in question has been shown through various media channels worldwide and how the design can be interpreted in a negative way.”

“I think some people may feel that way when they see it without any explanation,” Nishida said at a news conference on Friday, announcing the refurbishment along a new US route. Zipair plans to fly to San Jose, California in December.

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Ukraine calls on world to ban ‘Z’

Zipair will apply decals to all four Boeing-787 Dreamliners starting Saturday and gradually repaint the planes by spring 2023, Nishida said.

The company was founded in 2018, but was renamed Zipair – to represent speed – in March 2019. It started cargo operations in June 2020 and passenger flights in October of that year, following delays due to the pandemic. Zipair currently connects Tokyo with Singapore, Bangkok, Seoul and two US destinations – Los Angeles, California and Honolulu, Hawaii.

In March, Ukraine called on countries around the world to stop using the letters Z and V, saying the symbols in the Roman alphabet stood for “aggression” after some Russian military vehicles wore them as identification marks during the conflict.

Since then, the Swiss Zurich Insurance has “Z” branding, South Korean tech giant Samsung has removed the letter from its smartphone models in the Baltics, while Elle magazine denounced its Russian affiliate for publishing a cover about “Generation Z” – an entirely separate demographic reference.

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