Air Canada's colors: bandit, raccoon or loon?

What are the world's best airlines?
What are the world's best airlines?

There hasn't been an issue this divisive in Canada since Tim Hortons stopped making donuts in their stores.

But Air Canada's new makeover has done just that.

The Montreal-based airline unveiled new colors for its aircraft on Thursday. It picked a black and white scheme, a return of the red maple leaf and a black mask painted around its cockpit windows.

The airline turned to Canadian entrepreneur Tyler Brule for a complete makeover for the airline; new colors for its jets and new uniforms for its employees as part of the country's 150th anniversary.

Black is a rare color for aviation, mainly because it, along with red, are the heaviest colors of paint. Weight conscious airlines don't want to add to the already hundreds of pounds of paint that goes into branding an airplane.

The only other large airline today with a mostly-black scheme is Air New Zealand, which was initially inspired by its All Blacks rugby team. Back in the 1970s, Hugh Hefner's Playboy DC-9 wore all black with its tricked-out VIP interior.

The new colors put the airline in alignment with at least one other national icon, said Canadian aviation journalist Howard Slutsken: The country's national hockey team, which for decades has worn a red, black and white jersey.

The airline said the new colors reflect "Canada's vastness and contrasting seasons, with references to its wildlife and First Nations heritage."

Many were applauding the new look.

Others were less impressed.

The Canadian flag carrier leaves behind its last set of new colors, which debuted in 2004. That makeover, mint blue-green and red maple leaf, reminded many of a tube of toothpaste and similarly inspired a love it or hate it reaction.

Air Canada, has evoked strong reactions with its paint job. The black mask coming to its jets inspire resemblance to Canadian geese, but some saw it differently.

For others, it reminded them of an airline south of the border.

Don't like it? A day later, some are saying it give time.

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