Icelandair’s livery refresh features larger titles with a revised font, and a variety of new colors on the tail – Image: Icelandair
In what Icelandair’s director of marketing Gàsli S. Brynjólfsson describes as “More of a refresh, not a total change,” the airline has begun rolling out an updated livery and associated marketing collateral.
Icelandair’s current branding was last updated in 2006. “We needed to strengthen our story and the emotional part of the brand,” Brynjólfsson said. “Icelandair culture has changed a lot, it’s much more relaxed than it was before.”
For perspective, he explained that the idea was to democratize the brand, as the current white, blue, and gold livery had been seen as a bit stuffy. “We took the gold out – it came up a few times in the talks with experts and focus groups that the gold-and-blue feels a bit royal – Icelandair is not a royal airline – Iceland is very democratic with small power differences,” he said.
Icelandair’s now-former livery seen on its very first 737 MAX-8, TF-ICE, which was also the first in the fleet to receive the update
“We are so much like a normal Icelandic company – the power distance between people is very little – we’re a company of equals, so that’s something that needs to be represented in the brand,” he explained.
For those who are fans of the airline’s iconic special liveries like Hekla Aurora and Vatnajökull (the glacier livery), he was reassuring. “We’re definitely going to continue to have special liveries.” But don’t expect to see the new livery on the airline’s substantial 757 fleet.
“I doubt that we will do the refresh on the 757s – we’re doing just the MAX to begin with. The fate of time for those planes (the older 757s), combined with the cost of changing those planes, would not be reasonable.” He did say the airline’s two 767s would likely receive the makeover at some point.
Northern Pacific’s fresh livery on its first 757-200 at SBD
Planning to connect cities in the United States to Japan and Korea via its hub at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska, a la Icelandair’s routes to Europe via Reykjavik, Northern Pacific Airways (NPA) rolled out their first painted 757-200 at an extravagant event at southern California’s San Bernardino International Airport (SBD).
The airline is aiming to launch service later in 2022, although that may slip to 2023 due to the complexities of starting an international route system.
Founded in 2021 by Rob McKinney and Tom Hsieh, Northern Pacific has already purchased six Boeing 757-200 airliners, and their first one has been painted and is completing its C-check at Certified Aviation Services at SBD. The three-class interior (business, economy plus, and economy) has not yet been installed. The airline is a subsidiary of FLOAT Alaska, which also owns regional carrier Ravn Alaska.
The interiors will be of the three-class variety typical of LCCs: business, premium economy, and economy.
We sat down with NPA’s CEO Rob McKinney for a quick interview before the unveiling.
Asked why they opted for Boeing 757s, which are getting long in the tooth (Boeing stopped production in 2004), McKinney said “it can do the mission we need out of the gate,” especially as the Airbus A321XLR is not available yet.
An Allegiant A320 in the current livery, seen at Kansas City International – Photo: C.T. Thongklin
Late last month Allegiant announced plans to acquire twelve new Airbus A320s. Airlines make fleet announcements often, but this one was of particular significance for a number of reasons.
Allegiant’s order for new A320s:
First, this order for brand-new planes, direct from Airbus, signals a change in standard operating procedure for the Las Vegas-based ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC). Historically, Allegiant had shirked the trend of its ULCC peers, both domestically and abroad, of adopting fuel-efficient, modern aircraft. Instead, the airline has had a well-known preference for less costly mid-to-late life secondhand McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series planes. Cheaper planes equate to lower fares, and higher margins. This concept is not new; many budget carriers have used that model and benefited greatly from it (some have not). Allegiant is no exception. The airline is so well known for this preference, in fact, that few realize that the airline began acquiring Airbus aircraft in 2013. I myself was surprised to learn that the number of available seat miles flown by Allegiant’s Airbus fleet is nearly tied with that of their larger McDonnell Douglas fleet. Jude Bricker, Allegiant Travel Company senior vice president of planning, confirms expectations that the Airbus fleet will tip the scales by the close of 2016.
Older, used Airbus planes are known for being attractively priced. This is something Allegiant saw as early as 2012 when the airline announced plans to acquire its first batch of A319s. Then-President Andrew C. Levy stated, “A319 asset values have significantly declined and now mirror the environment we saw when we first began buying MD-80s.” While Airbus has focused much of its attention on pushing its newer and higher priced NEO (new engine option) models, it seems existing Airbus variants and future current engine option (CEO) deliveries are well positioned to become as ubiquitous as the much loved, budget friendly, long-lived MD-80s they are slowly but steadily replacing.
Allegiant’s newest (employee-approved) livery iteration:
Alongside this announcement, the airline unveiled plans for an incremental livery modification. Two final contenders were chosen, and employees were given an option to vote on which would be adopted.
Allegiant announces A320 purchase and new livery candidates – Image: Allegiant’s Facebook
Which did the employees choose?
LATAM’s new livery on the Boeing 787-9 – Image: LATAM
Today, LATAM announced their new unified branding, under which the LAN and TAM airline brands will be combined.
LATAM livery on the Airbus A350 – Image: LATAM
Today’s release confirms the livery rumors that savvy AvGeeks have seen floating around, including an in-the-wild spotting during the Boeing plant tour at this year’s Aviation Geek Fest.
Alaska employees cheer on the new livery
Earlier today, Alaska Airlines unveiled a new look, livery, and brand to 1,800 employees. The branding is noticeably different, but still is easily recognizable. Fresh, clean, and more of an evolution than revolution. I like it. I actually really like it.
BONUS: Checking out the new Boeing Space Bin on an Alaska 737
There have been rumors and talk (especially more recently) about moving to a new look, but it was uncertain how dramatic of a change it would be. Would the Eskimo stay around? Would the colors be the same? Heck… would the name “Alaska,” even be their name any more? It seemed everything was up in the air (heh).
The Alaska titles
The Eskimo stays
The nacelle sports the new colors
Before the official reveal to the employees, media was able to get a look at the plane (photos were embargoed until 3:30pm PST). My first thoughts… I think it is a great move. I also know that it seems that no matter how nice a livery might look, many AvGeeks automatically dislike change. I always say to wait a month or so before making final judgement. But I can say that I think many of you are going to like this new look and brand in person when you first see it.