A whole new look
The most extensive rebranding exercise ever undertaken by Air New Zealand took place in the 90s.
By the mid 90s the airline was ready for a new look. It was up to British design firm, Davies Baron to help establish Air New Zealand as an internationally recognised brand. Local firm Dave Clark Design Associates was enlisted to help provide some local context to the designers on the other side of the world.
This was to be a massive undertaking, not helped by the distances involved. With email still in its infancy, each time a file needed to be sent via email, a fax was also sent to let the other end know it was on its way.
And there was a lot to be done. The new branding covered absolutely everything Air New Zealand related, from the interior and exterior of its aircraft to offices, vehicles, crockery, uniforms and more.
The new branding, known as the "Pacific Wave", incorporated two stylised ribbons in the traditional brand colours, reflecting the British designers' impression of Pacific sea and sky in the New Zealand environment.
1990s On Board
Developments in technologies and fashions came and went over the decades. Ups and downs in profit margins and revenue drastically altered the business landscape. What has remained consistent throughout, is a strong culture around excellence and service.
Air New Zealanders take real pride in going above and beyond for customers, whether they be an engineer or designer ensuring the maintenance and improvement of their specialty area, or an attendant warmly welcoming passengers and ensuring their flight is seamless and enjoyable. Over the years, this has gained the airline a reputation for overcoming challenges and being extraordinarily innovative to meet customers' needs. This forged an experience for passengers that is uniquely Air New Zealand.
Change was in the air
In 1990 Air New Zealand celebrated 50 years of service. 1992 saw another milestone for the airline, when the first Boeing 747-400 touched down, bringing with it a vibrant new wardrobe for staff.
On the 15th of September 1992, the first Boeing 747-400, ZK-NBU, journeyed 11,494 kilometres from Seattle. The new fleet of 747-400s enabled four services a week to London, daily services to Melbourne, and for a time, two a week to Frankfurt. It cruised at 900 kph and could carry 436 passengers at a range of 13,000 kilometres. During long haul flights, the aircraft required 18 crew.
Despite beginning with leaps and bounds, the decade ended with serious challenges for Air New Zealand, after purchasing half of the Australian airline, Ansett.
Air New Zealand's involvement with Ansett was complex, with many twists and turns. An old and mixed fleet, and competitors who were able to underprice on key routes were a few of the factors that contributed to the airline's financial losses. By early September 2001, losses by the Ansett group reached $1.3 million a day. Coinciding with the surreal attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, Ansett was put into administration with a $1.4 billion operating loss. This was a truly tough time for the people of the airline at all levels. The New Zealand government soon renationalised the airline - the only way left was up.
Wearing the brand
For the first time in Air New Zealand's 53-year history, the airline introduced an overall corporate style.
A new ground-staff wardrobe designed by Kiwi Barbara Lee was the first change for 1,200 staff working at airports, travel centres and airline offices around the world. The women's wardrobe was comprised of tailored and print separates in Pacific jade and navy, while men donned jackets in Pacific jade with navy trousers and a tie featuring the Koru motif.
In 1998, Lee also designed uniforms for Air New Zealand Koru Club and First Class Lounge Customer Liaison Officers. These were mainly navy blue in colour, with accents of the corporate teal. The women's uniform featured four basic outfits, with items that could be mixed and matched with each other. Male staff received a new tie, a matching handkerchief and a gold Koru badge.