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Japanese airline repaints entire fleet amid war in Ukraine: Details

Japanese airline repaints entire fleet amid war in Ukraine: Details The change of ZIPAIR aircraft livery (Collage by RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Daria Shekina

The Japanese budget airline ZIPAIR completed a full repaint of its aircraft by the end of 2023, altering its logo to disassociate from Russian aggression in Ukraine. The low-cost carrier removed the letter Z from its tail and updated its livery.

This unprecedented decision comes from a company that commenced operations only in 2020, states

Before 2022, the tails of ZIPAIR airliners featured a prominent Z—the first letter of the company's name. However, in February 2022, Russian forces invaded Ukraine, and military vehicles bore identification marks Z and V. These letters were also used by those expressing support for Russia's actions.

For the Japanese airline, having a letter associated with aggression against Ukraine on its aircraft posed reputational risks. Hence, they opted to remove the logo.

"Some people might think that the airline supports the Russian invasion of Ukraine when they see the logo without any explanation," explained ZIPAIR President Shingo Nishida in 2022.

In June 2022, the airline covered the Z with stickers displaying the airline's signature colors—white, black, and green.

The complete repaint of the first ZIPAIR aircraft was completed by the end of 2022. The latest Boeing 787 aircraft received the updated livery by the end of this year.

ZIPAIR began operations in 2020. Hence, the decision to change the livery after just two years due to the actions of another country is unprecedented in aviation. Airlines typically retain their branding for decades, only making minor style updates.

Japan stands as one of Ukraine's key partners, providing economic aid worth billions of dollars.