The EVA Boeing 777-300ER getting its new paint job. (Photo/China Times)
The chairman of EVA Airways will personally fly the company's new plane decorated with the popular Japanese cartoon character Hello Kitty on its maiden flight on Sept 18, according to the airline.
Chang Kuo-wei will fly the Boeing 777-300ER featuring the cartoon cat with a special group of Hello Kitty fans bound for Los Angeles on board, the carrier said.
The group's members will be eligible to take part in an on-board autograph session with Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi and to attend a celebration party in Los Angeles as honored guests, the airline said.
Compared with the Airbus A330s used for EVA Air's previous five Hello Kitty planes, the Boeing 777-300ER has 70% more surface area, which will allow space for other cartoon characters in the Sanrio family, the company that created Hello Kitty, to appear on the plane.
A total of 19 characters will be themed, including Bad Badtz-maru and Pom Pom Purin, the airline said.
EVA Air first launched Hello Kitty planes in 2005 and kept them in service until 2008.
A second generation of Hello Kitty planes began service in October 2011 for use primarily on routes to Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and the US territory of Guam, on which they have proved popular.
Besides the US route, the new Hello Kitty jet is likely to serve travelers bound for European countries in the future, the airline said.