2007 top stories: CAL dons new look

After a long year of public speculation on what would happen to the beloved Sir Turtle logo in Cayman Airways’ gradual brand enhancement process, the icon has lived on with a new position on board the plane.

The new look for Cayman Airways was unveiled on one of its 737s in November following a lot of public speculation on what this aspect of the brand enhancement of the airline would bring.

The Board of Directors had been tasked to accomplish the action items identified in an efficiency audit undertaken by Lufthansa Consultants in 2006. One of these tasks was the re-branding of the airline.

At a public meeting in Bodden Town in April 2007, Minister for Tourism Charles Clifford, speaking about the ongoing planning of brand enhancement at Cayman Airways, acknowledged the possibility that the Sir Turtle logo could change, but that no decision had been taken on it. He also said that the icon could move to another part of the plane.

Sir Turtle had been on the tail of Cayman Airway’s planes since 1978.

But, Mr. Clifford said, if there was a recommendation to change the logo, the public would be consulted on it.

The Minister’s comments were published in the Caymanian Compass in April.

Public rumours were soon rampant that Sir Turtle was to be abandoned in the new re-branding process.

In May a public petition had started circulating via email asking people to sign their names to save Sir Turtle. The petition had collected well over 1,000 signatures.

Chairperson of the Board of Cayman Airways Angelyn Hernandez, when contacted in May by the Caymanian Compass said that she was baffled as to how the rumours started and noted that it had never been officially said that Sir Turtle was to go. She quenched the rumours by saying Sir Turtle would stay. It was too early to say whether the turtle would be changed or updated in any way, she added.

One good thing to come about from all the hype and rumour and petition was that the airline had acquired plenty of feedback from the public about how they felt on the issue, said Ms Hernandez.

Then in June in Finance Committee Minister Clifford said comments from the public were invited on how people would like to see history and culture represented on the aircraft, such as through the national flag or crest.

Finally, in November the day so many had waited for arrived.

The unveiling of the new look Cayman Airways’ aircraft took place in a dramatic ‘fly-by’ at the Cayman Airways hangar at Owen Roberts Airport.

The plane sported a design of the coat of arms flying high on its tail and the familiar Sir Turtle icon had moved up front, beside the doors of the aircraft. A small Cayman Islands flag is depicted towards the rear of the aircraft. The Cayman Airways font had changed to a more modern look.

Minister Clifford said he was very impressed by the visual before him, with Sir Turtle near the door welcoming guests and the coat of arms and flag displaying a visual message of what it means to be Caymanian.

Following the unveiling some questions surfaced from members of the public over the position of Sir Turtle’s head on one side of the aircraft. People pointed out that on the left hand side of the newly painted plane (looking at it head on) Sir turtle had his head turned back towards his shell. On the other side his head faced forward, the way it always had.

CAL President and CEO Patrick Strasburger explained that this was done to keep Sir Turtle with the same leg pegged on each side of the plane and the sword in the same hand. ‘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 Sir Turtle looks over his left should or right shoulder depending on which way the plane is flying.

A public online poll on caycompass.com showed that almost 55 per cent of the respondents approve at least somewhat of the new Cayman Airways aircraft livery.

Of the 444 votes in the poll the most respondents, 154 or 34.7 per cent, loved the new design. Another 89 people – 20 per cent – said the design was alright, but could have been better.

Twenty-seven respondents – 6.1 per cent – don’t like the look very much but think it could be worse while another 96 people (21.6 per cent) don’t like the new design at all.

Seventy-eight people (17.6 per cent) don’t care about the tail design.