Thousands of Air Canada employees, joined by Canada’s international superstar Celine Dion, today marked the beginning of a new era for the nation’s flag carrier with the unveiling of a contemporary new look and leading edge in-flight product enhancements that the airline hopes will place it on the forefront of international air carriers.
Today and tomorrow, Air Canada is holding events in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver to present what the restructured, revitalized national carrier holds in store for employees and the travelling public: an updated design and colour scheme for its fleet, new uniforms for its front line staff as well as leading edge entertainment systems and luxurious lie-flat seats for customers.
“Today we unveil the Air Canada of the future to the people who made it all happen - Air Canada’s employees,” said Robert Milton, President and Chief Executive Officer. “I thank our employees. It is through their hard work, loyalty and willingness to accept change that Air Canada has been transformed and positioned to succeed as a profitable, growing, competitive company in a rapidly changing industry. As difficult as it was, the results so far are very encouraging.”
“Air Canada’s future success will be driven by the loyalty of our customers. The initiatives announced today signal a renewed focus on providing our customers with value-driven products and services that place Air Canada on the forefront of international carriers. A new look for our aircraft, inside and out, new uniforms for front-line staff and a modernized brand image convey the re-energized Air Canada to our customers and the world. It means an airline that is recognized for excellence world wide and whose employees are driven by the passion to succeed - not unlike the qualities for which Celine Dion, is known the world over.”
Continued Mr. Milton, “All of us at Air Canada are honored to have this great Canadian icon with us today as we present the new Air Canada to the world.”
“This is such an exciting time for Air Canada. It is truly a privilege to share this moment with you,” said Celine Dion, wearing the stylish new Air Canada uniform as she addressed the carrier’s employees. “It’s been great working together with you on my latest music video and an honour to perform the song, ‘You and I…were meant to fly,’ to promote Air Canada and this great country around the world. Like you, I give it my best, day in and day out, to transport people and help them to realize their dreams, all over the world. We are all ambassadors for Canada, and from what I can see today, you and I were meant to fly.”
ÊJoining Celine Dion onstage at each event was a chorus of Air Canada employees chosen through nation wide auditions to accompany the international superstar perform her May release “You and I…were meant to fly.” The song is featured in the carrier’s new television and radio advertising campaign that introduces the newly transformed Air Canada to the Canadian public. The campaign, created by Air Canada’s advertising agency of record, Montreal-based Marketel, begins October 21, 2004.Ê
Air Canada also announced today that it will launch a cooperative advertising campaign with the Canadian Tourism Commission to jointly promote Canada as a travel destination in markets outside the country. Major print and broadcast advertising campaigns are slated to begin in select markets in the United States and Great Britain in early 2005. By sharing costs and leveraging their respective strengths, Canada’s flag carrier together with Canada’s national tourism promoter expect to generate greater impact in international markets for the benefit of Canada’s tourism and hospitality industries.
A new look for the fleet: Inside and out
Air Canada unveiled its new livery design with a display of a Boeing 767 aircraft sporting an updated design and colour scheme. Following their first stop over this morning in Toronto for employees to see the new contemporary look, the aircraft continued on to an event for employees at the carrier’s headquarters in Montreal before continuing on to events in Calgary and Vancouver.
Air Canada’s new updated livery, designed by FutureBrand Worldwide, features fresh clean lines and lighter colours; a more modern look with added energy that reflects Air Canada’s approach to streamlining customer service and developing innovative products through simplification. The distinctive Air Canada Maple Leaf in red on the tail of its aircraft will now be complemented by a graphic dot pattern representation called the “Frosted Leaf” in a light shade of green. In addition to its use on the exterior of the aircraft, the new colour scheme will be used throughout the interiors of aircraft and eventually across all corporate identity applications.
New uniforms for front line staff convey contemporary sophistication
Created by Canadian fashion designer, Debbie Shuchat, the new uniforms for Air Canada’s 6,700 flight attendants and 2,900 airport customer service agents embody classic sophistication with contemporary flair. Inspired by a retro couture look, Shuchat has modernized the designs with softer, contoured lines in a style that is clean, fluid and simple. Men’s and women’s suits will be in Midnight Blue with Silver Sky lining. Shirts and sweaters will also be in Silver Sky, accessorized with ties and scarves recalling the new livery’s Frosted Leaf graphic design with a subtle tone-on-tone iridescence. Wear testing by employees will be conducted in the first half of 2005, followed by production of the final designs that will have incorporated feedback from employee groups. It is expected that Air Canada’s front line employees will begin wearing the new uniforms in late 2005.
New leading edge in-flight enhancements
Air Canada today also unveiled a new in-flight entertainment (IFE) system that will bring all of its customers leading edge video and audio on demand with a choice of up to 80 hours of programming on personal television screens at each seat.
The system will consist of touch screen capability that gives each customer complete fully interactive programming control for making personalized entertainment choices and features digital image and surround sound quality. Introduction of the new system is scheduled to begin with the arrival of new Bombardier CRJ 705 aircraft in May 2005, and installation on the airline’s international fleet beginning September 2005.
Air Canada also confirmed today that it will proceed with the introduction of the newest generation of premium lie flat seating for all of its Executive First international customers in order to ensure that its Executive First customers experience the very best in comfort available. Air Canada expects to introduce luxury lie flat seating across its international fleet beginning as early as September 2005.
“Just as we have invested in the renewal of our North American fleet with new, smaller jet aircraft, we must continue to invest strategically in other areas including in-flight products to remain competitive in domestic and international markets,” concluded Mr. Milton. “We must invest to earn the ongoing loyalty of our customers. As we have seen today, Air Canada and its people will be better equipped than ever to meet new challenges head on and succeed.”
The wide ranging initiatives announced today will be implemented strategically and economically to minimize costs. Painting of the livery will be accomplished as part of the carrier’s regularly scheduled maintenance program over a two year period. The transition will be accelerated as a result of the upcoming delivery of new Embraer aircraft beginning in 2005. To achieve consistency fleet wide in a timely and economical manner, a transitional livery decal will be applied to aircraft tails. The carrier’s new advertising campaign is also being produced within the parameters of existing marketing budgets.