(CNA) EVA Airways, one of Taiwan's major international carriers, will launch a new "Hello Kitty" fuselage in October to celebrate the airline's 20-year anniversary and spark renewed interest in travel between Taiwan and Japan.
The airline hopes the promotion will emulate the success of a previous "Hello Kitty" campaign, which saw two aircraft introduced with "Hello Kitty" exteriors in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
The planes' exteriors, interiors and accessories such as boarding passes, napkins, baggage tags and flight attendants' aprons all carried the motif of the Japanese female bobtail cat cartoon character.
According to travel agency representatives, the Hello Kitty aircraft, which primarily flew between Taiwan and Japan until they were retired in 2008 and 2009, became key parts of package deals that kept them nearly fully booked when first introduced.
They also helped Eva Air win an award from British magazine Wallpaper in 2007 for "Best Livery."
The airline said the new "Hello Kitty" plane would carry a different livery than in the past, but it would not divulge what changes awaited the cartoon feline.
It hopes, however, that reviving the "Hello Kitty" mystique will inject new energy into travel between Taiwan and Japan, which has suffered since Japan was battered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in mid-March.
EVA Air is bringing back the feline to the air in collaboration with Sanrio, the Japanese-based company that created Hello Kitty and several other cartoon characters such as My Melody and Pom Pom Purin. (By Wang Shu-fen and Nell Shen) enditem/ls[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]