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To coincide with Liverpool’s commencement of its Capital of Culture celebrations, Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) today launched a unique tourism initiative.

In recognition that LJLA is now a true gateway to the North West, the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has funded a £1.6m programme of tourism branding and information works at the Airport. The focus being the additional numbers of European visitors expected to travel via the Airport during Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture Year in 2008.

With the primary focus on arriving visitors receiving a positive ‘first impression’ of Liverpool and the North West of England the moment they set foot in the region, a journey through the North West has been told in a unique and illustrative way. Called the ‘Air Portal Initiative’ the work incorporates a number of innovative and unique ways in which to promote the region, welcoming visitors and providing them with a memorable experience.

North West design consultants Broome Jenkins provided the creative supervision with input from the Airport Company, the NWDA’s Marketing Directorate and The Liverpool Culture Company. Further local input came by way of specialist sub-consultants McFaul (John McFaul originates from Birkenhead) and Liverpool based River Media who both provided the creative input. The project has also involved over a dozen suppliers.

The McFaul team first created a unique artwork which runs along all arrival routes throughout the terminal building culminating in a full illustrated story of the region’s unique visitor attractions depicted on columns in the baggage reclaim area.

This base design was then used in a number of unique ways including:
• The UK’s largest rear projection installation with a 4 x 100in screen media wall with a unique aspect ratio located in the departure lounge.
• The content for the media wall is the biggest continuous loop of media that River Media have ever produced. Similar content is usually between 30 – 120 seconds long. This media is 30 minutes long with the screens playing over 100 GB of high definition ‘Digital Video Art’.
• The colourful entire ‘wrapping’ with graphics of the Airport’s 7 passenger transfer buses, each in a different ’08 approved colourway.
• All buses have been fitted with 4 video screens to play a unique short movie that incorporates the visual imagery from the bus wrap graphics and welcomes visitors in 7 languages – chosen to match the origin of the aircraft.
• Over 300 linear metres of unique artwork which runs along both internal and external glazed arrivals routes depicting different images of the five North West sub-regions.
• The themed ‘wrapping’ of all 18 columns in the baggage reclaim area and ’08 floor graphics around each baggage carousel.
• All 112 passenger seating tables in the departure lounge branded with ’08 logos.
•77 x ’08 logos incorporated into carpet tiles fitted in the existing airport carpet throughout the Airport.

This project adds to and complements the Airport’s ‘Collection ’08′ that it unveiled in December 2007 displaying a range of art throughout the terminal, as the Airport aims to offer its passengers and visitors an educational and inspiring experience as they pass through.

Not only does the graphics and branding show off much of the region’s tourism offer, it also showcases the region’s creative and artistic talent. River Media in particular are testament to this with a young team of average age just 23/24 years old, under the supervision of Jon Corner and Paul Rogers, whilst John McFaul’s strong Merseyside links helped to inspire this world renowned graphic designer.

Neil Pakey, LJLA’s Managing Director, commented: “The Airport has embraced the Capital of Culture on two levels. First, we have driven up the number of scheduled destinations, from 13 when Capital of Culture was announced, to over 60 today. On a cultural level, we have progressed in our goal to be a true Public Arts building ourselves and this project complements our Rock and Roll hall of fame and John Lennon exhibits throughout the terminal. Looking ahead in 2008, we hope to bring more arts to the region and also look forward to our 75th birthday celebrations which also takes place during 2008.”

James Berresford, Director of Tourism at the NWDA, said: "Liverpool’s year as the European Capital of Culture is an excellent opportunity to show what outstanding attractions and events both Liverpool and the region have to offer tourists. The Air Portal Initiative means that from the moment visitors step off the plane their experience of the Northwest is welcoming, informative and thoroughly enjoyable. The NWDA is delighted to support this innovative project which will help to secure success for Liverpool in 2008 and promote a positive image of the region."

Kris Donaldson, Acting Chief Executive at The Liverpool Culture Company, said: “We want to create a sense of theatre in the city for visitors and local residents alike. We hope the artwork and designs we use excites and inspires people about our programme of events in 2008 and about the amazing and positive change which Liverpool is undergoing.”

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