First Air has cleared a new look for takeoff.
After 71 years in business, the arctic’s flagship airline has retired its multi-coloured sun logo and replaced it with a grey inuksuk graphic over a red background.
The new logo is First Air’s nod to the people and land of the arctic.
The inukshuk carries different meanings across the North, and the company wanted to be respectuful and mindful of the different interpretations that exist, said Dan Valin, First Air’s manager of marketing and communications.
For those reasons, the Inuit-owned company consulted more than 30 elders in Nunavik, Nunavut and Northwest Territories, as well as Inuit organizations.
First Air’s head is owned by Makivvik Corporation, which is based in Kuujjuaq, Quebec. The airline’s head office is in Ottawa.
Beyond the logo, big changes are coming to First Air.
The interiors of all planes are being revamped, as is the signage. Employees started wearing new uniforms Thursday, and a new website will go online in the next few weeks.
Passengers on First Air’s jet service will also notice a new Wi-Fi entertainment system.
Adding flights and growing the fleet however, are not part of the rebrand.
“That’s something that we always continuously evaluate on whether or not there’s a need for that,” said Valin, of expanding services.
In May, the airline ended flights between Norman Wells and Yellowknife.
First Air is in a better position now, said Valin, adding that “Four or five years ago, it wasn’t necessarily the best time for our airline in terms of finances.”
First Air’s makeover is about improving aesthetic consistency and promoting awareness of the airline, said Valin.
“We did focus groups that showed that our brand wasn’t that well known,” he said.
The airline also learned that customers noticed differences among First Air aircraft tails.
Valin hopes the new design will help attract tourists to the north.
“We are going to play a more active role in championing the arctic as a tourist destination,” he said.