Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Sun Country employees will vote on new airplane paint scheme

Sun County Airlines will unveil a new paint scheme for its aircraft, and the carrier’s employees will decide the new look.

Sun Country employees are being asked to vote on a new paint scheme for the carrier's planes. These are the four possible combinations.
(Photo: Sun Country Airlines)

The airline rolled out four potential airplane “liveries” on Monday. Sun Country's effort to update ist look comes as the former niche low-cost carrier remakes itself into a no-frills budget airline. Sun Country has already said it will eliminate its first-class cabin as part of the transition. Now the carrier's paint scheme is set for an overhaul.

Brian Davis, Sun Country’s Senior Vice President – Commercial, announced the plan Monday in a memo to employees.

“As we move through this transition, it is important that we signal to our customers that, while we fully intend to stay connected to our roots, a new day is on the horizon. One of the most visible and obvious ways we can do that is with our aircraft, which thousands of passengers and potential fliers see and experience every day,” Davis said in the employee memo. “Today, I would like to announce that we will also be refreshing the exterior of our aircraft with a new livery!”

As for the vote, Davis described that as a way to give employees a voice in Sun Country’s transformation.

“It is important to me that as we build, we build together,” he said in the note to workers. “It is imperative that we not only listen to the feedback of our customers, but also the expertise and input of our most valued asset – you!”

Workers will vote for one of two paint schemes for the fuselage. They'll also vote for one of two designs for the tail. The combinations mean there will be four possible paint schemes for Sun Country’s new look.

Workers won’t have much time, though. The cutoff for voting will come at 5 p.m. CT on Tuesday (June 5).

“The livery and tail combination with the most team member votes will be implemented on all aircraft coming into the fleet by the end of this year,” Davis said.

Planes with Sun Country’s existing livery will keep that paint scheme until their next regularly scheduled repainting.

“We will not retroactively paint aircraft outside of regular paint schedules, but will phase in new livery as bring aircraft into the fleet and with regularly scheduled repaints of current aircraft,” Sun Country spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler said in an email to USA Today's Today in the Sky blog.

Wheeler said Sun Country did not have a specific timeline for how long it would take to update the company’s entire fleet of about 20 aircraft. She did say planes typically get repainted about once every seven years, though the schedule may vary by individual aircraft.

As novel as the effort sounds, Sun Country will not be the first U.S. carrier to put the look of its planes to an employee vote.

American rolled out a similar vote to its employees in 2013, letting workers pick from one of two designs following its merger with US Airways. American had just announced a new paint scheme for its planes, and then-new American CEO Doug Parker decided to let workers vote whether to keep that look (they did) or choose a modified look that kept American's previous tail design.

(Ben Mutzabaugh - Today in the Sky / USA Today)

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