A Thai Airways plane skidded off the runway Sunday in Bangkok, but it might be hard to tell which airline the plane belongs to in the aftermath of the accident after the company blacked out its logo on the damaged aircraft.
The blacking out of the Thai Airways logo was done to protect the airline’s image, officials told the Associated Press. Smud Poom-On of Thai Airways said the practice was in accordance with Star Alliance guidelines as a “crisis communication rule.” Thai Airways is part of the Star Alliance.
The plane, an Airbus 330-300 that departed Sunday from Guangzhou, China, skidded off the runway at Bangkok’s Suvurnabhumi Airport at 11:20 p.m. Sunday, according to the Thai Airways website.
Dr. Sorajak Kasemsuvan, president of Thai Airways, said in a statement, “after touchdown at Suvarnabhumi Airport, the landing gear malfunction and the aircraft skidded off the runway. Fire sparks were noticed from the vicinity right landing gear near the engine, the matter is under to be investigation. The captain took control of the aircraft until it came to a complete stop and passengers were evacuated from the aircraft’s emergency exits. The cooperation was conducted by the captain and the crew strictly.”
Nobody was seriously injured in the accident, but 13 passengers suffered minor injuries while evacuating the plane, Thai Airways said. The aircraft was carrying 228 passengers and 14 crew.
The decision to black out the plane’s logo caused Thai Airways to trend on Twitter, where some users thought the “crisis communication rule” was actually hurting the company’s brand, not helping it.
“I like Thai Airways . Disappointed in How They managed This, though,” said Twitter user Patricia Valerio, who included a link to a story about the plane on her Twitter account.
“Blacking out after a runway airline incident logo? That does not protect the brand, That hurts it hard. C'mon,” wrote user Joel Pettigrew.
Twitter user @it_aint_kanasas agreed.
“Thai Airways covering up Their logo is equivalent to me putting my hands over my eyes and yelling ‘YOU CAN NOT SEE ME!’” she wrote.
And Twitter user Tom Maddocks called the blacking out of the Thai Airways logo a “bizarre attempt at crisis management.”