Australian budget airline Jetstar has stirred controversy by unveiling a rainbow makeover on one of its planes, ditching its distinctive orange star for a more colourful design reading "Flying with Pride."
The A320 sporting the new look took to the skies this week just in time for the annual Midsumma Festival in Melbourne.
Jetstar CEO Stephanie Tully stated that the company is "incredibly proud" to be the festival's official airline partner for the eighth consecutive year. She aimed to highlight the 'inclusivity' of Jetstar, saying:
"There's a seat for everyone at Jetstar, no matter how you identify, and this inclusive spirit is now on display more publicly than ever."
However, the move has sparked a debate about whether such corporate gestures are genuine expressions of meaningful inclusivity or merely instances of virtue signalling.
Critics argue that the airline's decision may alienate customers who view it as prioritising political statements over providing affordable and reliable air travel services.
The unveiling ceremony at Jetstar's engineering hangar at Melbourne Airport featured performances by drag queen artists Victoria Bitter, Randy Roy, and Dolly Diamond, who marked her 20th anniversary of performing at Midsumma.
While Midsumma Festival CEO Karen Bryant expressed gratitude for Jetstar's support, the controversial makeover has left some questioning the airline's motives and whether it aligns with the expectations of its diverse customer base.