All Nippon Airways (ANA) (NH) signed a five year licensing agreement with LucasArts to promote the new Star Wars movie franchise.
Under the agreement, ANA would be able to use characters from the film series on its airplanes, at the airport and on promotional items through a project called the “Star Wars Project”.
The first result would be a new Boeing 787-9 featuring R2D2. The plane will be rolled out in Fall 2015 to promote Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens which would be released worldwide around December 18, 2015.
The airline chose R2-D2 to highlight its reliability and dependability.
Perhaps its a coincidence but April 16 is also the first day of the Star Wars Celebration being held in Anaheim, California, USA.
Based out of Tokyo, Japan, ANA is a member of the Star Alliance airline group with hubs at both Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) and Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND). This is not the first time use a major character as part of its promotional efforts. Previously, it also featured Pokemon on its aircrafts.
It is important for airlines continue promoting the tie in to create a maximum effect that would resonant or build awareness with passengers.
Experience The Skies will publish more tie ins between the two companies when they are available. In the meantime, here is a video ANA produced with the new livery.
The first route to use this aircraft will likely be from NRT to George Bush International Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas.
Update – September 12, 2015
The first aircraft featuring the Star Wars livery has been shipped out of Boeing Everett’s facilities. Fun fact: It takes up to 5 days and a crew of 12 to complete painting a 787-9 (depending on the design and colours involved). The following is a video of the painting process:
Find out more details about this aircraft, other designs and initial routes in our continuing coverage here.