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JAL goes retro; brings back original crane logo

Date Posted: 2011-03-17

Japan’s national air carrier, Japan Air Lines, is rebranding itself as it works through bankruptcty and reorganization, bringing back the crane logo similar to one that adorned the tail of its planes criss-crossing the world in the 1950’s.

“We want to create a regenerated JAL,” says JAL President Masaru Onishi. “We adopted the logo with the determination of going back to the basics, when we had the spirit of challenge.” The tsurumaru logo was initially painted on the fleet some six decades ago, replaced by the current logo when JAL merged with Japan Air System in 2002.

Now, Japan Air Lines’ first plane to sport the new tsurumaru crane circle design is a Boeing 767-300, which made its inaugural flight earlier this month. Officially, the new symbol will formally be introduced April 1st, and the 150-aircraft fleet repainted over the coming years as it goes in for maintenance and repainting. The new crane logo design has a more prominent feather design, which JAL officials say is intended to denote speed.

The switch back to the crane logo coincides with Japan Air Lines marking its March exit from court-ordered bankruptcy protection it entered nearly 14 months ago. Other newly painted JAL plane on Asian routes began sporting the new tail logo yesterday.

The new logo also comes at a time when the struggling airline retired its last Boeing 747. The venerable 747’s, of which Japan Air Line had several hundred passenger and cargo models in its fleet at its peak two decades ago, are replaced with midsize and other aircraft that provide better fuel efficiency.

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