S7 Airlines temporarily becomes Sibir once again

S7 Airlines In response to a national ecological disaster, the Siberian carrier is temporarily reverting to its old name Sibir (S7)

With forests in Siberia burning and competition continuing to heat up across the region’s air routes, S7 Airlines, Russia’s largest private carrier, has temporarily reverted to its original name of Sibir Airlines in an effort to draw attention to the plight of the Siberian forests that are being devastated by wild fires, whilst also enticing passengers to its network.

After an unusually hot and dry summer, hundreds of forest fires are burning in the vast Siberia region and the blazes have already destroyed more than 40,000-square kilometres. To help raise social awareness of the huge problem and also to encourage customers to participate by buying tickets, S7 Airlines, which consists of Sibir (the English translation of Siberia) and Globus airlines, has temporarily changed its name. The name change is denoted on the company’s website and is supported by an Airbus A320 aircraft which contains elements of the old livery — a pine tree and the name ‘Sibir’ printed in the Cyrillic alphabet.

All of these symbols were discarded in 2005 when British design firm Landor Associates reinvented the airline’s corporate style as part of a re-branding exercise, lifting it from the perception of being just a domestic carrier with Siberian origins and instead presenting it on an international scale.

As part of the current promotion, the Novosibirsk, west Siberia-born S7 Airlines has also launched a fund-raising initiative to finance a dedicated tree-planting scheme whereby it will donate 100 roubles (US$1.5) from every sold ticket to a Siberian destination.

“Siberia is our homeland; we cannot remain uninvolved in the environmental problems of the region,” comments Vladislav Filev, chairman of the board at S7 Group. “The brand is one of the main and most powerful assets of our company, and we are ready to temporarily change it in order to express our involvement, draw attention to the issue and team up with our passengers and partners to create new woodlands. We will return to the S7 Airlines brand after the fund has raised enough to plant one million trees,” he adds.

While being a social initiative, the announcement is also seen by many as a sharp marketing ploy that coincides with Smartavia, another Russian airline, entering the already crowded Moscow to Novosibirsk route, the only cash generator route for Sibir in the past. Smartavia became the sixth airline to serve the route.

Founded in 1992 in Novosibirsk, Sibir has evolved from a small regional carrier with just a few aircraft into a modern airline with a fleet of more than 100 including the newest Airbus A320neos and Boeing 737 MAXs.

After establishing its initial base at Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo airport, the airline started to develop a destination network from Moscow in 2001.

In 2007, the airline became the second air carrier in Russia to successfully pass the IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit).

In 2010, Sibir became a full member of the oneworld global airline alliance.

In the first half of 2019, Sibir and Globus together carried 8.16 million passengers, an increase of 14.2 per cent year-on-year.

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