Air Canada-Air Canada Unveils New Livery Inspired by Canada

Today, in a simultaneous cross-country launch in TorontoMontreal and Vancouver, Air Canada unveiled for its customers and employees a new livery inspired by Canada for its entire fleet, new uniforms for its employees, and a taste of some of the new onboard menu offerings that its customers can look forward to.

“Air Canada’s new livery signals a pivotal inflection point in our 80-year history,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at the event in Toronto, where the airline’s largest hub is located. “On the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary year, with our new livery, new uniforms for our employees, the award-winning international cabin standard introduced with the launch of our Boeing 787 aircraft, and enhanced onboard offerings, the future Air Canada represents the strength of our nation and the future-looking spirit of our airline. On behalf of our 30,000 employees world-wide, it is a privilege to fly Canada’s flag, and we are proud to showcase some of the best of this nation’s talent as we continue to expand Air Canada’s horizons to fly to more than 200 destinations on six continents.”

Air Canada-Air Canada Unveils New Livery Inspired by Canada

Air Canada’s fleet of 300 mainline and regional aircraft are being repainted in a bold black and white design that highlights its iconic red maple leaf encircled ensign, or “rondelle,” that returns to the tail of the flag carrier’s fleet after an absence of 24 years. The concept was to reflect “Canada’s vastness and contrasting seasons, with references to its wildlife and First Nations heritage.” The new fleet livery was designed by international design firm Winkcreative, headed by Canadian entrepreneur Tyler Brûlé.


As much as we want to love this design, we find it a little oppressive and cold (and it pains us to say, as we love the Air Canada product). Black, when used cleverly, can impart luxury, style and class. Brands like Aman or American Express or even Starflyer manage to use the colour cleverly, however, this design seems to look like a monochromatic version of Delta. The black nacelles, tail, belly and type could easily replace the navy blue of Delta’s livery, and the use of red at the front of the aircraft on the tail match the same Delta widget treatment.

Air Canada-Air Canada Unveils New Livery Inspired by Canada

Winkreative, had created the more vibrant, playful brand of Porter, another major Canadian carrier, yet has perhaps been too reserved with the treatment of Air Canada. The re-introduction of the Rondelle is welcome, but is slapdash at the front of the fuselage (along with the logotype placement), and we can’t help but feel the black ‘mascara’ around the flight deck windows mirror the raccoon eyes that is the mascot of Porter.


The sentiment of looking forward and embracing national pride is welcome, and we salute the statement from Mr. Smith, but we cannot see how his vision for a modern, proud, future-looking airline has been delivered. Like many liveries, time is a great healer, and no doubt in time we will become accustomed to the new brand image, but there is no question that we preferred the previous incarnation.


On the flip side, the new uniforms designed by Christopher Bates, do deliver on the promise. The injection of the red on an otherwise charcoal canvas, inject modernity and style to the cabin environment.


Posted by:Jonny Clark

16 replies on “Air Canada Reveals New Brand Image, Livery & Uniforms

  1. DELTA much? And why the dark blue? Canda’s colors are red and white. Or are they aping the defunct Canidian International?

    1. It’s not dark blue, it’s black. Like a killer whale, or loon, with racoon eyes. Very boring design considering according to AC it took 18 months to create.

  2. Is it really black ? I see a very very dark hues of green in it… the previous branding and livery was fresher and innovative. What Brûlé had in mind ? … Porter was über cool branding at launch time, but this one… is kinda upsetting, dull and not really inspiring., and right! Delta (which I love) brand mess up is obvious. Green light for the Uniforms but still generic look. Rendez-vous manqué.

  3. This is just such a missed opportunity – Tyler Brûlé could’ve done so much more. At international airports this will just blend right in with Delta and British Airways. So boring, but at least it isn’t Eurowhite?

  4. We hated it yesterday, but it’s growing on us today. We agree it’s reminscent of Delta but we’re sure with time it will come into its own. We’re looking forward to seeing it up close and in person.

    However we’re devastated Celine didn’t launch it.

  5. So the concept of this livery is meant to “reflect Canada’s vastness and contrasting seasons, with references to its wildlife and First Nations heritage”. Really? How do design firms come-up with this kind of garbage?

    Perhaps Winkcreative should have added that the black, white and red livery also reflects the 757 owned by Donald Trump; president of Canada’s closest trading partner. And the black, white and red color of Cunard’s ocean liners, which first linked Canada with Britain in 1840. The list of possible black, white and red links to Canada is virtually endless. But pointless too

    While I welcome the return of the Rondelle, I think it has been poorly served with this bleak livery.

  6. On the mark Mr. Clark. I’m sure in time I’ll get used to it, but I think the previous livery was far more artistically compelling. I typically find livery changes somewhat unsettling at first, but sometimes the change feels like a welcome improvement (such as the current liveries of Delta, BA, Cathay Pacific over their former ones).This feels regressive as opposed to forward thinking, too similar to already covered ground. And while harkening back to history isn’t a bad thing, the execution, in this case, looks odd, particularly with the black around the cockpit windows.

  7. A lot of people didn’t like the current scheme! I thought it was great. The red maple leaf on the frosted ice bluefish green. Couldn’t be more accurate in symbolising the true Canadian colours. It looked unique and really stood out on a dark wintry day. I thought to myself it’s not going to be long before they ( AC) get restless regarding forever changing their colour schemes. I call it the ‘Air Canada seven year itch’!! They’ve done it again,only this time it looks horrendous in my opinion!! Don’t fix what ever is not broken!!

  8. Horrible!! Why does Air Canada always change their scheme,especially when they could’ve just left it as it was? It was a nice unique scheme and different fo the so common white! Bad decision in my opinion!!

  9. Personally, the livery looks much better in person that it does via the images you see above. This is ironic because that was the same for the previous current livery. Images just don.t show the colour or the overall design in its true form.

    As mentioned above, we have to get away from making snap judgment’s on these things. Its so easy to do…but you cant make an informed decision on something until you see it from all sides/perspectives.

    I was like most people in that I was taken aback by the austerity of the design when I first saw it…but after seeing it in person and really looking at the entire concept, I actually grew to like it. Its sophisticated, clean, crisp and relevant. It will be easy to apply to aircraft and will still stand out (although not as much as the toothpaste livery) at airports around the world. Personally, I think the black will look better and stand out more from a distance than the blue of Delta. There is enough of a distinction between the two liveries to make it easy to tell the difference.

    As for the black mask, I love it. It reminds me of Air Canada’s black anti-glare nose paint from the 60’s/70’s and Continental’s black eyeliner mask on the 707’s and Viscounts.

  10. McDonald airways. With Ronal McDonald and friends from1982. OnThe dash 8. On the. Tail fan. And also paint yellows and red stripes .

  11. Looks like a flying hearse. How curious that despite the expanse of white, that black is just overwhelming.

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