Sir Turtle turns heads

Although Sir Turtle is still a prominent part of the Cayman Airways’ new-look aircraft, some members of the public have noticed a subtle change in him on one side of the plane.

The new-look 737, which is a part of a gradual brand enhancement for Cayman Airways, was unveiled last week to the public, media and government in a dramatic fly-by that prompted applause and cheers.

Since then, callers into a radio show and the Caymanian Compass have noted that Sir Turtle on the left hand side of the newly painted plane (looking at it head on) has his head turned back toward his shell. On the other side of the new look 737-300 airplane, Sir Turtle’s head is facing forward, the way it always has.

President and CEO of the airline Patrick Strasburger explained the thinking behind this change in Sir Turtle’s head position on one side of the plane.

‘For years he’s been going around on one side of the plane with his left leg pegged and on the other side of the plane with his right leg pegged,’ he explained.

‘So we wanted to have one leg pegged instead of two, and the sword in one hand.’

The sword is also in opposite hands in the older style rendering on the tail of the planes.

The new decision has given Sir Turtle a pegged right leg and a sword in his right hand on both sides of the plane.

‘It was simply a case of turning his head as opposed to a mirror image of the body, which is the way it was before.’

Mr. Strasburger explained that he’s standing in the same position and he’s anatomically correct now because his same leg is broken. He looks over his right shoulder and over his left shoulder, depending on which way the plane is flying.

The airlines CEO added that it is also necessary, on both side of the plane, to have the Union Jack flying into the wind.

When you design things from left to right you make certain they face forward on an aircraft, he said.

The new brand enhancement was done by Aerobrand, based in New York. In business for 11 years, it specialises in air craft design, branding and brand enhancements.

Speaking about the Cayman Islands coat of arms and how it is depicted on the rear wing of the plane, Mr. Strasburger said, ‘We kind of zoomed in on it to take up more of the body of the airplane and the tail, leaving all three stars big.’

The stars are representative of the three islands.

The brand enhancement is a gradual shift into a new design for the airline, including new uniforms. They will be replaced with the new design, but not at a new expense, he said.

‘When we would normally use the money to replace them, instead of replacing them with old, we replace them with new.’

The same applies for stationary, business cards, letter head and the planes. When the aircraft goes in for its normal paint and C check, they will be logo’d with the new font and logo instead of the old.

Mr. Strasburger said the airline has managed the expense of this programme so as not to spend much more money than they normally would throughout the normal processes of business.

Giving an example of the airplane that has just been painted, he said, ‘This airplane was last painted four or five years ago and it was clearly in need of a major paint refurbishment, so it was logical and cost effective to introduce the new look at this time.’

Mr. Strasburger said the whole programme of brand enhancement will take a couple of years from start to finish.

The next plane to be painted will be done so by the company it is being leased from.

‘Our next airplane that will be painted is coming first quarter of next year, the additional 737-300 that we’re leasing from ILFC, and when you lease an airplane it comes to you with whatever colour you want. We don’t pay for that paint job at all.’

Although Mr. Strasburger admits he was a little nervous before showing the plane in a presentation to over 100 staff members early Monday afternoon and then later at the unveiling ceremony, he was pleased with the reaction.

‘There were oohs and aaahs and people told me they actually had goosebumps,’ he said of the staff presentation.

At the Cayman Airways hangar later there were a couple of hundred people, from employees, to government representatives media, customers and business men and women.

‘A fly-by is exciting in itself but to see Cayman Airways fly-by in its new livery I heard oohs, aahs, screams, claps, tears from long term employees, Caymanians and everybody alike.’

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