British train operator Gatwick Express is rolling out a new corporate identity that aims to create a strong and dynamic brand image for the London Victoria - Gatwick Airport service. As well as the red and silver-grey livery worn by the Alstom electric multiple-units (RG 11.98 p774) that will enter service between November this year and February 2000, the new identity will be applied to staff uniforms, signage, company stationery, advertising and publicity material.

Known as ’Aero’, the new identity and Gatwick Express logo has been developed over two years at a cost of £80000. Corporate identity consultancy Bamber Forsyth carried out research using focus groups comprising Gatwick Express staff and customers, as well as airline representatives and Gatwick Airport management. From this and other research, it was determined that the corporate image inherited from British Rail through privatisation was looking ’a little tired’, in the words of Gatwick Express Head of Marketing Roy Campbell.

In addition to creating a strong image that will be easy for travellers arriving at Gatwick to recognise, Campbell says that the new identity aims to combine the cachet of air travel with the freedom and luxury associated with rail. To summarise the multi-modal character of the airport rail link, three icons have been adopted as part of the corporate identity, representing a train, an arrow and a plane.

By extending its corporate identity even to the roof of its new trains, Gatwick Express expects to attract the attention and hopefully the custom of in-bound travellers as their planes fly in over the airport station. Gatwick Airport currently handles 29million passengers a year, and this is expected to grow to 40million by 2008. According to Gatwick Express Managing Director Peter Cotton, rail now accounts for 76% of journeys across all modes between Gatwick and London, with Gatwick Express holding 80% of the rail market. In 1998-99 the company recorded 4·5million passenger journeys on its 43 km route, and Cotton hopes that this will grow at a rate of 3 to 4% a year in the immediate future.