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Caribbean Airlines asks its employees to design a new logo

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Minister of Works and Transport Jack Warner says an initiative to rebrand national carrier Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) and Air Jamaica Ltd—which it acquired on May 1, 2010—is premature at this stage.

CAL's logo is a hummingbird in flight and its tagline is "The Warmth of the Islands" while Air Jamaica's logo is Jamaica's national bird, the Doctor Bird, characterised by its long tail and pointed beak.

Warner, who is the line Minister for the national carrier, said he received an e-mail, which was circulated internally by CAL, asking staff to participate in a competition to design a new logo and tag line for the carriers.


The e-mail, which was sent by CAL to staff last week, read: "Together Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica are on our way to becoming an airline for the Caribbean. We want to build something great for Caribbean aviation and we want all of our employees to be part of this union, which marks a great moment in Caribbean aviation history. Our logo and tag line tell the story of what we do and captures our personality and character. What would you do if you had the opportunity to redesign or rebrand Caribbean Airlines? Design a logo and a tag line that will represent the entire Caribbean."

Attached to the e-mail was an application form for employees interested in participating.

In an interview following last Thursday's post-Cabinet briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, Warner said: "I saw that and I saw some submissions as well. I am not even aware of the origin of this whole thing. I did see it. It might be a bit premature at this stage."

Acting Prime Minister Winston Dookeran said he was not aware of any rebranding move by CAL. Dookeran, who is also the Finance Minister, was speaking to the Sunday Express in a telephone interview last Thursday.

"I have not been in touch with Caribbean Airlines' day-to-day operations since we endorsed the strategic direction and endorsed their arrangements with Air Jamaica to buy its revenue routes," he said.

"I don't think that (rebranding) is a priority at this stage. I think they have to consolidate the Air Jamaica routes to be able to increase the passenger intake. That should be their first priority."

Laura Asbjornsen, CAL's head of corporate communication said she could not reveal the airline's plans for rebranding but added that CAL was working closely with the Ministry of Works and Transport.

"A request was made by the Ministry of Works and Transport (the Ministry to which CAL reports to) for information regarding the plans for the future branding of the Air Jamaica/Caribbean Airlines partnership," she said.

"Captain Brunton (CAL CEO) complied with the request, and submitted the information via email to the Permanent Secretary. The information contained recommendations from the team at Caribbean Airlines. The proposals are being discussed at the Ministerial level."

Tracey-Ann Menzies, Air Jamaica's marketing and public relations manager for Jamaica and the Caribbean said via e-mail that "currently we are not using a tagline and I am unable to speak with you further, on the rebranding issues, than what you discussed with Ms Laura Asbjornsen, our Head of Corporate Communications."

On January 1, 2007, Caribbean Airlines Ltd. (CAL) commenced operations 24 hours after the closure of 66-year-old British West Indies Airways (BWIA) thus replacing BWIA as the national airline. BWIA's logo was a steelpan.

The aircraft 9Y-TAB was the first Boeing 737-800 in the CAL fleet to take the new livery, complete with the Hummingbird logo on the tail and the tag line "the warmth of the Islands." The hummingbird was chosen as Trinidad is known as the land of the hummingbird.

By the end of 2007, two additional 737s were delivered to CAL in the new colour scheme—green, blue and purple—which is represented in CAL's staff uniforms as well.

In 2008 CAL made headlines for the use of the of the Balisier flower (Heliconia bihai)—the signature symbol of the People's National Movement (PNM)—on one of the new logos for the Dash-8 aircraft.

Called Caribbean Flava, the logo was part of a series of five new designs for the Dash-8 fleet; the new designs included Caribbean Aquatic, Caribbean Indigenous, Caribbean Culture and Caribbean Life.

However, after criticism by the then opposition leader Basdeo Panday and members of the public, the image of the Balisier flower was removed.

On May 1, 2010 CAL and Air Jamaica began the journey towards one Caribbean airline. Under the CAL/Air Jamaica arrangement, CAL assumed full financial responsibility for Air Jamaica, the Government of Jamaica transferred Air Jamaica's routes for a 16 per cent ownership in CAL and CAL retained approximately 1000 Air Jamaica employees for the 12-month transition period.

In June, the People's Partnership Government appointed a team to examine CAL. The team comprised former BWIA CEO Conrad Aleong, CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Krishna Boodhai and former finance minister Selby Wilson.

Dookeran, who took the team's report on CAL to Cabinet had said it would help Government make important decisions in relation to the national budget.

The Finance Minister, who in July described the decision by national carrier to acquire Air Jamaica route for $300 million as a "good deal", told the Sunday Express last Thursday that he was not in contact with CAL on a day to day basis but that a discussion about the reduction of the fuel subsidy is next on the agenda.

Currently both airlines are operating with their same logos. However, a new logo which reads "On our way to one Caribbean Airline" with both CAL's hummingbird and Air Jamaica's Doctor Bird is being used on Air Jamaica's website.

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