EasyJet (UK) (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) as previously reported, painted one of its Airbus A319 with likeness of playwright William Shakespeare. We now know the reason. The airline today (April 2) launched a campaign to get the playwright officially recognized on the British calendar. The airline issued this statement:
Britain’s oldest real life William Shakespeare (below) has today launched a campaign to get the world’s most famous playwright officially recognized in the British calendar.
The 91 year old, from Bristol, was joined by Stratford-upon-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawias. Mr. Zahawias signed the petition to recognize April 23 as the national William Shakespeare Day.
Copyright Photo: EasyJet. Will-I-Am: Britain’s oldest William Shakespeare (above) launches campaign to make April 23 official day of the Bard.
The duo launched the campaign at London’s Gatwick Airport by unveiling a special edition easyJet Airbus A319 (G-EZBI) with an image of William Shakespeare on the fuselage. The airline is backing the bid to get the Bard recognized and is helping to garner the 100,000 signatures necessary for the issue to be debated in parliament and trending online with #Shakesonaplane
Heritage and culture remain one of the key drivers of tourism to the UK (Visit Britain report) and easyJet has arranged a program of free Shakespearean performances at airports across the country to share the playwright’s most famous work. The airline’s special William Shakespeare plane will also operate on flights across easyJet’s network this summer to help promote the UK as one of Europe’s leading cultural hot spots. The campaign for national William Shakespeare Day will culminate on the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth this April 23.
William Shakespeare from Bristol, said: “It is such an honor to be chosen to launch this campaign to recognise my namesake. All my life I have been proud to share my name with such an iconic British figure and I think it is important we recognise his achievements with an official day in the calendar.”
Paul Moore, Communications Director for easyJet said: ”William Shakespeare is Britain’s most famous author so easyJet is proud to back the bid to make 23 April his national day. We are asking our UK passengers to sign the petition while suggesting to those from the rest of Europe that they visit the land of Shakespeare to learn more about him and see his works performed.
“Our campaign will run during April in our in-flight magazine read by 5 million passengers a month, across thousands of seat back adverts and we will be staging free Shakespearean performances at airports across the UK. Passengers can win free flights by writing a sonnet supporting the campaign and it will be launched with our special Airbus which will carry Shakespeare’s image on the side. Aviation and Shakespearean language combine for the name – Romeo Alpha Juliet.”
Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-upon-Avon said:
“Is it a Bard, is it a plane? William Shakespeare is one of Britain’s greatest gifts to the world, ‘he was not of an age, but for all time’, and I have long argued this sceptre’d isle should celebrate April 23 as a national holiday. I’m delighted that easyJet have chosen to campaign on this issue – let’s hope we can get it off the runway.”
EasyJet will be collecting signatures and offering free Shakespeare performances at the following airports this month:
• London Gatwick: April 12-13
• London Luton: April 14-15
• Edinburgh: April 14-15
• London Stansted: April 14-15
• Manchester: April 16-17
• Bristol: April 16-17
Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZBI (msn 3003) is seen departing from Gatwick Airport near London. (all others by EasyJet).