Retiring Sir Turtle stupid

Retire Sir Turtle?

Fiddling about with the paint job should probably be around 99 or higher on any list of 100 things at Cayman Airways that need looking at. That tail logo is about the only thing that doesn’t need fixing.

The history of branding is littered with failure. Does anyone out there drink New Coke? CAL needs to be very careful when considering any logo revisions. British Airways less than successfully tried to re-brand itself several years ago by slathering its tails with a variety of international ethnic designs. The travelling public was sufficiently unimpressed that the project was abandoned after only half the fleet had been painted.

In a world of mundane airline liveries, the Sir Turtle logo is instantly recognisable. Why on earth would we want to bin it in favour of something else? That would be a clever move indeed. Sort of like Air Canada ditching the maple leaf or Air Jamaica dropping the doctor bird. These designs have stood the test of time and represent more than a branding exercise. They are a point of national pride.

There is no need to waste vast sums of money on a re-branding exercise at Cayman Airways. The airline will never be profitable. Warren Buffett once observed that the world airline industry has not made any meaningful return for investors in a century of manned flight. In a business environment where the IATA member airlines had combined net losses of US$20 billion from 1990 through 1994, what makes us think that changing the tail logo will have any impact on CAL’s business model? It is time to accept that CAL will always need to be subsidised, stick to the routes that best serve residents and visitors and live with it.

More than anything, this little debate highlights the appalling willingness in our society to discard or eradicate everything of historic, cultural or environmental value. We are destroying our land and sea environment. We are shooting our national bird out of the sky. We have the world’s most endangered reptile. Caymanians need to wake up and understand that if they do not value these things, then they too are ultimately doomed to the fate of the little bird that graces our one cent coin. It is the Grand Cayman thrush by the way, regrettably now extinct.

Sir Turtle is a Caymanian icon. Treasure him.

Andrew Reid