BA is wrong to fly the flag again

BA changed its identity to reflect its position as a global airline, and also to reflect an image of Britain it felt would be more attractive to customers around the world ­- Britain as modern, dynamic and outward-looking, respecting different cultures.

This is an image of “New Britain” which many people in the UK and abroad find attractive ­ far more attractive than the conservative, parochial, old-fashioned image which has undermined Britain’s success in export markets for many years.

BA’s move reflected a new confidence in Britain, and a new willingness and determination to be international in outlook.

It was not unpatriotic -­ rather it reflected a new way in which Britain can play a leading role in the world.

It is unsurprising ­- though of course deeply depressing ­ that the minority of customers who objected to this step forward were British businessmen ­- and Mrs Thatcher. Of course, the Union Jack is a powerful symbol of Britishness ­- but surely it cannot be the only one.

British Airways should be commended for their responsiveness to an important customer group -­ but unfortunately in this case the customers were wrong. If there were a legitimate criticism of the “old” identity, it would be that it lacked coherence, and therefore undermined recognition. However, this could have been addressed in other ways.

Is the general glee at BA’s step back on this just another example of a continuing damaging tendency in Britain to undermine those who dare to be innovative?

Dorothy Mackenzie



London W1

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