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Livery of the Week: Air Canada’s Black-and-White Modernity

The Canadian airline took a bold step when it unveiled this livery in 2017.

An Air Canada A330 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Editor’s Note: AirlineGeeks is excited to launch our ‘Livery of the Week’ series. Every Friday, a team member will share an airline livery, which can be from the past, present, or even a special scheme. Some airline liveries are works of art. The complexity associated with painting around critical flight components and the added weight requires outside-the-box thinking from designers. The average airliner can cost upwards of $200,000 to repaint, creating a separate aircraft repainting industry as a result.

Have an idea for a livery that we should highlight? Drop us a line

In February 2017, Air Canada unveiled a bold new livery for its fleet of aircraft, which features a sleek black-and-white color scheme. The new livery was part of a broader brand overhaul six years ago where the airline also enhanced uniforms and cabin products.

Starting off on three aircraft during the 2017 unveiling, the new livery was designed by international design firm Winkreative, headed by Canadian entrepreneur Tyler Brûlé. Since then, several of Air Canada’s mainline and regional aircraft have been painted with the new scheme. Air Canada has nearly 200 aircraft in its mainline fleet.

Keeping the Maple Leaf

At the heart of Air Canada liveries for decades has been the maple leaf, an emerging symbol of national identity in Canada. The icon can be found on Air Canada tails dating back to the DC-8 aircraft in the 1960s. As the company has evolved, so has the maple leaf.

The maple leaf continues to stand out on the 2017 iteration of the carrier’s livery. In this design, it is encircled in red on a black tail, creating a more eye-catching appearance. The so-called ‘Rondelle’ made a return to the 2017 livery after a 24-year-long absence. In the previous design, the maple leaf was larger on a lighter background.

An Air Canada 737 MAX 8 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

“For the first time in many years, the Air Canada Rondelle has been reintroduced on the tail, re-establishing the confidence and heritage of our brand,” the company shared in a detailed description of the new livery.

Complementing the tail, a single Rondelle is on the inside of the bold black engine design of some aircraft, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. A red Rondelle is also on the bottom of each aircraft.

An Air Canada 737 MAX 8 at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

A Far Cry from Earlier Liveries

The current version of Air Canada’s livery was a pivot from the previous design, incorporating darker colors across the aircraft. The bottom portion of the livery is black while the rest – except the tail – is white. This creates a more modernized look and allows for some of the red accents to appear bolder.

“Air Canada’s new livery signals a pivotal inflection point in our 80-year history,” said Benjamin Smith,” the company’s President of Passenger Airlines said at the 2017 unveiling event in Toronto.

An Air Canada 777 departs Las Vegas. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

The airline says its livery “…balances national identity with a compelling design that clearly accentuates the features of each aircraft, allowing it to elegantly stand out in the sky and on the runway.”

Largely unique to Air Canada, the newest livery also features a dark mask around the flight deck. The mask was inspired by the facial markings of Canada’s indigenous birds, according to the airline.

Looking for a new airplane model? Head over to our friends at the Midwest Model Store for a wide selection of airlines and liveries. 

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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