Photos: Behind the scenes of the painting of the logos on Canadian North's new CFL plane

Andrew Bucholtz
The CFL plane during the painting process.
The CFL plane during the painting process.

The CFL unveiled a cool new element of its partnership with official league airline Canadian North Tuesday, a Boeing 737-300 plane painted with the CFL logo, the French (LCF) logo, and all of the current CFL teams' logos. Doing this was quite a complicated process, taking 140 hours over seven days (twenty-hour days) at Premier Aviation Overhaul Center in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. 28 people were involved, and this used 20 gallons of paint in 21 different colours. In addition to being in regular Canadian North service, the plane's going to be used to fly the Grey Cup champions home from Vancouver in two weeks. Here are some photos Canadian North released of the plane being painted. First, what it looked like before most of this work was done, with just the CFL logo outlined on the tail:

What the plane looked like before the logos.
What the plane looked like before the logos.


Next, what the West Division side looked like early in the process.

What the West logos looked like early on.
What the West logos looked like early on.

And here's what the East logos looked like near the start of this painting job..
Here's a shot of how the finished East side looks from the back.

Early looks at the logos for the Ticats, Argonauts and Redblacks.
Early looks at the logos for the Ticats, Argonauts and Redblacks.
A tail shot of the East Division side of the plane.
A tail shot of the East Division side of the plane.

And one of how the West Division side looks now it's completed.

What the West Division side of the plane looks like.
What the West Division side of the plane looks like.

You can also see time-lapse footage of the painting process on the CFL's site.

This is a pretty cool way for the CFL and Canadian North to show off their partnership, and one that should help boost the profile of both sides. Canadian North is trying to boost awareness of their charter business (they're the official charter provider of the CFL, and operate many other charters as well), and this will certainly get them some attention. Meanwhile, the CFL logo and those of its teams receive a lot of visibility wherever this plane goes. It's similar to the Grey Cup train painting in that way, but rather than a one-off event for a few months, the fact sheet suggests that a plane's paint job typically lasts for five years. Thus, this could provide good promotion for the CFL for years to come. League commissioner Mark Cohon said at the unveiling (via Terry Jones of The Edmonton Sun) that the visibility from this is important for the CFL:

“More than anything, it’s to show our colours across this country. We did this with the train across the country. Now we’ve got a plane.

“I was moved when I first saw it. I love it. You can see the smile on my face. It just shows where the CFL is today.”

Perhaps most importantly, though, this illustrates that there are good things happening on the corporate partnerships side, and that this is a league sponsors still want to be involved with. That hasn't always been the case; consider that just a year ago, there was some criticism of the CFL over RONA and Scotiabank ending their sponsorships. The Canadian North deal is new this year, though, and it's been prominently discussed even before this, including banner ads on the CFL website. It's a three-year deal, and it wouldn't be surprising to see it extended further with such a prominent move like this plane. This indicates that corporate sponsors are interested in working with the CFL, and that the league is capable of coming up with innovative and creative ways to partner with them. Strong corporate sponsorship is a valuable part of overall league financial health, and this is good news on that front.