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Air New Zealand Decides to Paint It All Black

The Kiwi flag carrier is painting two more planes black in honour of the national rugby team – but is black a cheery enough colour for air travel?

They may be one of New Zealand’s most famous national icons, but perhaps marketing gurus for the All Blacks rugby team and the country’s flag carrier ought to think again about some of the ideas emerging from their brainstorming sessions following an announcement today by Air New Zealand.

The airline, used by many UK travellers to transport them across the world to their cheap holidays in New Zealand, said that it has extended its sponsorship agreement with New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) by another four years – and to mark this agreement it will be painting more of its aircraft “all black”. A new Airbus A320 is due for delivery at the end of this month and this will be painted in the carrier’s distinctive “crazy about rugby” black livery, as will the fifth and final Boeing 777-300 long-haul plane, which will be delivered to the airline at the start of next year.

The idea is a lovely one – after all, the sponsorship deal, which now ends in 2015, will have been in operation for 20 years upon completion – and it is only right that Air New Zealand should want this to be reflected on its aircraft. But stylish and slimming as the colour is, an all black aircraft is a rather gloomy sight, one might think – unless you’re an airline hoping to attract goth kids!

However, the livery does not seem to have put off customers from flying with Air New Zealand – and will have certainly attracted loyal Kiwi rugby fans, so maybe the psychology of colours is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The chief executive of NZRU, Steve Tew, certainly seems to think so. Yesterday he said that “New Zealand Rugby, the All Blacks and our national carrier share a distinctly Kiwi identity and pride, as well as sharing a drive for excellence and determination to be the best.”

That would certainly be borne out in the performance of the team itself. On Sunday the All Blacks were again declared the champions in the Rugby Union World Cup following a narrow defeat of the French national team in the New Zealand capital Auckland.