• Transform magazine
  • July 18, 2019

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Chinese airline fights back

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In China’s age of austerity, brands that deliver premium and luxury services are feeling the pinch.

In a bid to appear modest, Chinese government officials are no longer eating extravagant meals or staying in luxury hotels. This has had a disastrous effect on the businesses that relied on them, to the extent that five star hotels have requested that their star rating be decreased so that they may win back valuable customers.

The airline industry has been similarly affected and the recently rebranded, state-owned airline, China Eastern Airlines, has taken the step of renaming its first class seats ‘business class’, while reassuring its customers that the service offered will be of the same high standard.

China’s airline industry has seen a sharp decline in profitable high-end ticket purchases. In July 2014 Shanghai-based China Eastern issued a profit warning and the company has since invested in a complete corporate rebranding in an attempt to tackle this issue and to help it stand out from its competitors.

The new brand by Chinese firm, Bang Strategic Brand Design, is China Eastern’s first in 20 years. The rebrand alone is notable for having taken place in a country where the state retains significant control. It is the first major rebrand among any of the major Chinese airlines.

China Eastern has stated its intention to attract foreign investment and hopes its modernised look will contribute towards this. The airline also aspires to a more international market and is introducing new 777 aircrafts that serve long-haul routes, including many to North America.

The livery and design alterations are not overly dramatic; rearranging and altering previous components rather than taking the brand in a totally new direction. The swallow inspired logo has slightly more rounded edges and loses its red and blue circular background.

The new livery has minimalistic and eco-friendly plane coatings in the fashion of other international airlines such as Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Japan Airlines (JAL).

China Eastern serves nearly 80m travellers annually and ranks among the world’s top five airlines in terms of passenger transportation volume.