By Kai-Chin Shih/ 15 JUNE 2015/ TOKYOJAPAN/talkairlines.wordpress.com
EVA Air and Sanrio have completed the seventh and last Hello Kitty livery, “Shining Star”, on a newly delivered Boeing 777-300ER. Carrying the registration number B-16722, “Shining Star” has debuted on the route between Taipei Taoyuan Airport and Singapore Changi Airport on 15 June. On 19 June, it will operate the inaugural EVA Air nonstop service from Taipei Taoyuan Airport to Houston Intercontinental Airport.
Kiki and Lala, along with their fluffy purple bear, are the featured Sanrio characters on this Hello Kitty Jet. The stars and angels-theme of Kikilala perfectly complements the launch of the new destination Houston, which is known for housing the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). Other Sanrio characters painted on “Shining Star” include Hello Kitty and Melody.
Similar to the sixth Hello Kitty jet (“Hand-in-Hand”), “Shining Star” has its decorations painted on the plane. A total of 19 colours were used and the entire painting process took about 2 weeks. EVA Air explained that painted decorations are easier to maintain than stickers. Furthermore, painting results in much more lively and saturated colours, thus making the special livery more eye-catching.
The exterior is not the only part of “Shining Star” that will have Sanrio decorations. The interior of the plane will also see various Sanrio elements. From the headrest covers and pillows to the meals, everything on “Shining Star” will feature Kikilala and their friends. At the checkin counters, the television screens and the kiosks will all have a cohesive Sanrio-themed design. “Shining Star” passengers, on the ground or in the air, will all enjoy an one-of-a-kind experience regardless of class type.
The 333-seat “Shining Star” will feature the latest EVA Air 777 cabin products. In Royal Laurel Class (Business Class), 39 Zodiac Cirrus seats that can be converted to fully flat beds. Moreover, the wine selection includes the world renowned Krug champagne, making EVA Air one of the top airlines in alcohol offerings. In Elite Class, a comfortable 2-4-2 8-abreast layout with 56 seats. The seat pitch is a spacious 38-inch length, offering every passenger maximum comfort. In Economy Class, the good traditional 3-3-3 9-abreast configuration with 238 seats. EVA Air has not followed the horrifying tide of 10-abreast Economy Class. Passengers will enjoy a selection of entertainment on the latest Panasonic eX3 IFE systems. The “Sky Wi-Fi” is also available for passengers to stay connected.
“Shining Star” is the last EVA Air Hello Kitty Jet. Quoting the CEO of the airline, “We do not want to become Kitty Air”. After its debut on 15 June, “Shining Star” will be deployed mainly on the Taipei – Houston and Taipei – Singapore routes. The new Taipei – Houston route will be operated three times weekly initially and four times weekly starting 1 July. Other destinations in Europe, North America, and East Asia may also see “Shining Star” arrive occasionally.
On the side note, ANA (All Nippon Airways) also recently entered the Houston market. Interestingly, the Japanese carrier followed EVA Air and chose the theme of stars and space to promote the new destination. A Star Wars-themed advertisement was introduced in May 2015 and was widely circulated on the internet.