When airlines use paint as damage control
After incidents that leave wounded planes in public view, standard practice is to cover over logos and other identifying marks.
It could have been a lot worse at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sunday night, when a Thai Airways Airbus (EADSY) A330-300 skidded off the runway upon landing. Everyone survived the mishap, and only 13 minor injuries were reported.
Officials are still investigating the exact cause of the accident, and usually that story would fade away. But it's staying alive in the blogosphere because the company's name and logos on the damaged plane were painted over soon after the mishap.
A Thai Airways spokesperson told CNN that blacking out logos was part of its "crisis communication rule" and that "it is standard practice in the aviation industry to de-identify an aircraft which is visible to the public after a significant incident or accident."
Indeed, this is hardly the first time an airline has blacked out its logos and other identifying marks on a plane soon after an accident.
Just hours after an Alitalia turboprop plane veered off the runway at Rome's Leonard da Vinci airport earlier this year, injuring 16 people, nearly the entire plane was painted over, removing most company markings. Union officials said the airline was literally whitewashing the incident.
But an Alitala spokesman told Britain's Daily Telegraph the practice "is something that is done by airline companies in many countries and we are surprised that such a fuss is being made. It is a matter of brand protection."
In 2007, a China Airlines Boeing 737 caught fire and exploded on the tarmac at an airport in Okinawa, Japan. Miraculously, all 165 passengers and crew on board were safely evacuated from the burning plane. One day after the accident, Japanese officials gave permission to the Taiwan-based carrier to paint over the airline's name and logo on the jet's wreckage.
Getting a company's name and logo out of the public eye after a crisis is a classic part of public relations damage control. But that practice is harder for airlines -- especially when the hull of every plane in your fleet is conspicuously branded, and most passengers and airport visitors are carrying some form of social media technology.
An airline chief of communications, who spoke on condition of anonymity with The Wall Street Journal, noted that trying to cover up a carrier's logo no longer works in an age of smartphones -- and when the public expects more corporate transparency.
Logo masking "used to be standard practice to prevent damage to reputation, but the world's a different place now," he said, "and most crisis management people believe you'd be sending the wrong message to the public if you paint over."
Yeah, would not want passengers to see a certain airline that crashed and connect that to perhaps that airline crashes more often and maybe take another airline.
it's only fitting that the plane in Rome was painted at an airport named after Leonardo da Vinci
Their reputation can't get much worse.
Someone needs to create a blog with nothing but pictures showing workers painting over company logos and identification!!
That will get millions of clicks!
Delta 1141 at DFW in 1988, crash on takeoff, Pilot Error. I noticed the DELTA logo disappear just days after the incident but well before the wreckage was removed. That was the first time I had ever heard of such actions. I thought it was silly. It isn't like people aren't going to know who it is anyway.
However, I guess someone could be a little upset to look out of their ascending DELTA flight onto the wreckage of another DELTA aircraft down on the ground.
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