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Taiwan carrier to say goodbye to Hello Kitty theme.

TAIPEI, Oct. 27 Kyodo

Taiwan's second biggest airline is set to phase out its Hello Kitty-themed passenger jets and merchandise after a contract expired last week between the carrier and Japan's Sanrio Co., which owns the rights to the Hello Kitty logo.

Eva Air will start ''wiping off'' Hello Kitty faces from two passenger jets in the next six months, while sales of related merchandise by the airline will also gradually cease, the carrier said in a recent press release.

The kitschy planes -- plastered in gigantic Hello Kitty faces -- as well as similarly-themed mugs, T-shirts, stuffed animals and stationary, brought Eva Air fame as the ''cutest carrier'' to operate routes between Taiwan and Japan, as well as between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Inside the jets, Hello Kitty faces graced everything from toilet paper and flight attendants' uniforms to air sickness bags.

Eva Air's three-year contract with Sanrio, local media said, helped to boost the airline's Japanese passengers by 10 to 20 percent, giving it a leg up on its main competitor, China Airlines, Taiwan's biggest carrier, in the Japanese market.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Oct 27, 2008
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