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Colour me painted (A-1)


In general, airlines have a very defined corporate image, and colours.

There are some exemptions, for example Frontier in the United States. They paint a different animal in each tail.

Or Norwegian in Norway, they paint a different famous character.

But in general, they are very uniform and defined images.

Nonetheless, at times there are Airplanes that are painted with special colours for different reasons.

Those Airplanes are usually few. And from those, there isn’t always an associated campaign through which the public can know why that Airplane is painted in that way.

Many times the campaign isn’t even justified because it’s not a commercial matter.

Those of us inside this little world are very aware of their existence, but for the public seeing them may mean surprise, and at times, even confusion.

I remember being in Rionegro’s Airport once, and listening to the following dialogue:

-“She comes in Avianca”.
-“Ah, but that isn’t Avianca, it’s some Star Alliance”.
-“Yeah right? S-TAR-A-LLI-AN-CE. That’s so weird, she’s not coming there”.

Of course, it was Avianca, and the person was coming there. It’s just that it was one of the Airplanes painted with Star Alliance colours, the alliance Avianca belongs to.

Making of the archive of photos I’ve taken, it occurred to me to make this article to talk a little bit about the matter, and show you some examples that I’ve photographed of this practice.

So, let’s start with a simple list of reasons why an Airplane can have different colours than the rest of the fleet in a given moment.

This list isn’t exhaustive, I just decided to divide it this way arbitrarily. Even so, I think it’s fit for what I want to do with this article. So let’s do it.

ADVERTISING

Some airlines offer their Airplanes as flying billboards. This kind of agreement can happen in an Airplane that changes its colours totally.

Or it can happen with the installation of a sticker showing the product or service somewhere in the Airplane, but keeping the normal colours otherwise.

It can also happen because of specific events, such as the now traditional Coca-Cola Airplane with the FIFA World Cup trophy.

BY ASSOCIATION WITH SOME INSTITUTION, EVENT, OR SPORTS TEAM

Many times Airplanes have been painted with subjects alluding to some institution, or some sports team.

Like with the advertising, some times it’s about a sticker (big or small), and some times the whole Airplane changes its identity.

We could set as examples of this the Avianca Airbus A319 that had a sticker of the Colombian national football team, or the JetBlue A320 totally painted green with the Boston Celtics’ colours, a NBA team in the United States.

IN COMMEMORATION OF ANNIVERSARIES, OWN CAMPAIGNS, CELEBRATIONS, OR REMEMBERING PAST TIMES

These are some of my favourites.

The ones commemorating anniversaries are just that, the company just turned a determined number of years, and they painted some Airplane, or put some sticker to it.

The ones remembering past times are some of the ones I like the most. These are Airplanes they paint with colours the airline had many years ago, before the current corporate image. They’re called “retro-jets”.

There is a variation of this, it’s when the current airline is the result of the buy-out or merger with others.

Now and then they paint some Airplane with the colours of the airline that doesn’t exist anymore.

Also, when the airline is the first one to fly some type of Airplane, or any similar reason, they usually paint Airplanes with subjects alluding to that.

Some times, the airline makes a campaign that belongs to them only, and they paint the Airplane accordingly.

FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS

It happens at times that an airline acquires some second-hand Airplane that used to fly for another before.

Painting an Airplane is a time-consuming process and it’s not cheap, and an Airplane that isn’t flying is lost revenue.

So when an Airplane reaches in those conditions and is ready to fly, sometimes Airlines prefer to put it to fly without painting it, leaving a mix between the former airline’s colours, and the titles of the current.

It also happens when an airline is going to use an Airplane that belongs to another one for a short period, knowing beforehand it’s going to be like that.

In those cases, it can’t be financially justified to paint the whole Airplane, and in general they only change the titles and that’s it, since the Airplane will return to its original owner in short time.

That would mean a double painting job, with the costs it has in time and money, and since the operation is going to be for short time, they just leave it as it came, and only change the titles.

Those Airplanes are usually called “hybrids”, and some are really striking.

Another variation of this is leaving the Airplane only with the titles, and the rest without painting. It’s usually made when the Airplane is going to be returned to its owner, or was sold, or some other reason that may warrant it.

BELONGING TO A GLOBAL ALLIANCE

Some airlines belong to global alliances such as Star Alliance, OneWorld or SkyTeam.

Usually when belonging to any of those alliances, some Airplanes in the fleet are painted with colours alluding to the alliance.

BEING AN AIRPLANE IN EXHIBITION BY THE COMPANY THAT MAKES IT

Some Airplane makers such as Airbus, Boeing or Bombardier go to air fairs, events, and conventions worldwide such as Farnborough in the United Kingdom, or FIDAE in Chile, among others, to showcase their Airplanes’ capabilities.

Often, they find buyers there or close deals that were already being prepared, when they take their Airplanes to those events usually they paint them with the colours of the maker, that almost never are seen again in operation (even though there are some very interesting Boeing colour schemes flying with China Airlines).


After that little explanation, I want to show you some examples that I’ve been able to photograph.

Of course, this list is limited to what I’ve photographed (and some external links to photos of other people), but these practices exists since before I was born, and in many more places that I’ve been able to visit. That is, this is but a small sample.

The list will go by airline name in alphabetical order, and I will include some details of the pictures, and the reason of the colours if I know it.

I’ve divided the whole article in several lists so it doesn’t become so heavy. This is the first list, the A-1. In the menu in the beginning, or in the end, you will be able to browse toward the others.

I hope you like it.


ABSA Cargo (Brazil)

ABSA Cargo had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

M3
ABSA Cargo normal colours.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-300F | Registration: PR-ACQ
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: May 2012

DSC_8321.jpg

This Boeing 767-300F is a hybrid between Florida West y ABSA Cargo. You can see it in Florida West colours by clicking here.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-300F | Registration: PR-ACG
Place in which I photographed it: Sao Paulo-Guarulhos GRU | Date: June 2013

DSC_5327-1.jpg

This Boeing 767-300F is a hybrid between LAN Cargo and ABSA Cargo. You can see it in LAN Cargo colours by clicking here. Nowadays it flies in normal LATAM Cargo colours as N532LA.


ABX Air (United States)

ABX Air had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

I don’t have a photo of the normal colours of ABX Air in that time taken by me. But clicking here you can go to one taken by a third person.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-200F | Registration: N767AX
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Fecha: April 2018

DSC_4623.jpg

This Boeing 767-200F had almost the full normal colours, but its tail was not painted for some reason.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-200F | Registration: N739AX
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: October 2015

DSC_8013.jpg

This Boeing 767-200F was almost totally white, but it still had a remnant of the colours of its former operator, Amerijet. It’d be a half hybrid.

Click here to see a photo of the Airplane with Amerijet.


Adria Airways (Slovenia)

Adria Airways had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

JP
Adria Airways normal colours.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Bombardier CRJ-200 | Registration: S5-AAF
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_3515.jpg

This Bombardier CRJ-200 had Mini advertising, I’ve no idea what it says there in Slovenian.


2.
Airplane:
Bombardier CRJ-200 | Registration: S5-AAE
Place in which I photographed it: Brussels BRU | Date: July 2010

DSC_9168.jpg

This Bombardier CRJ-200 had some sticker promoting the Ljubliana 2010 summer festival.


Aegean Airlines (Greece)

Aegean Airlines had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

A3
Aegean Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: SX-DGG
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_4031.jpg

This Airbus A319 had a little decal that said www.visitgreece.gr.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: SX-DVU
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: July 2010

DSC_8197.jpg

This Airbus A320 had a sticker promoting the new Acropolis Museum.


Aer Lingus (Ireland)

Aer Lingus had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

EI
Aer Lingus normal colours.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: EI-DVM
Place in which I photographed it: Helsinki-Vantaa HEL | Date: June 2012

DSC_8985.jpg

This Airbus A320 was painted in retro colours. Aer Lingus had these colours in the 60s and 70s.


Aero República (Colombia)

Aero República had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

Aero República
Aero República normal colours before the beginning of the unification of its image with that of Copa Airlines.

Ramírez.

Aero República
Aero República normal colours after the beginning of the unification of its image with that of Copa Airlines.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
McDonnell-Douglas MD-83 | Registration: HK-4315
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: January 2006

IMG_4691.jpg

This McDonnell-Douglas MD-83 for some reason had a simplified white scheme compared to the official at the moment. No idea why.


Aeroflot (Russia)

Aeroflot had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

SU
Aeroflot normal colours.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-300 | Registration: VQ-BCQ
Lugar en que lo fotografié: Tokyo-Narita NRT | Fecha: Mayo de 2012

DSC_7065.jpg

Aeroflot belongs to SkyTeam, and as a member, has this Airbus A330-300 painted with the colours of the alliance.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: VP-BZP
Place in which I photographed it: Moscow-Sheremetyevo SVO | Date: May 2012

DSC_4375.jpg

This Airbus A320 had a sticker promoting the 2014 Winter Olympics, celebrated in Sochi, Russia.


Aerolíneas Argentinas (Argentina)

Aerolíneas Argentinas had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

AR
Aerolíneas Argentinas normal colours.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A340-300 | Registration: LV-FPV
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: October 2015

DSC_8575.jpg

Aerolíneas Argentinas belongs to SkyTeam, and as a member, has this Airbus A340-300 painted with the colours of the alliance.


Aeroméxico (Mexico)

Aeroméxico had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

Aeroméxico
Aeroméxico normal colours.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-700 | Registration: XA-CTG
Place in which I photographed it: Mexico City MEX | Date: April 2015

DSC_3121.jpg

This Boeing 737-700 had advertising of the Aeroméxico Banamex credit cards.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: XA-AMK
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Fecha: January 2019

DSC_2418.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 had advertising of the Samsung S9 smartphone.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-700 | Registration: EI-DRD
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Fecha: March 2015

DSC_2159.jpg

This Boeing 737-700 had Club Premier advertising, Aeroméxico’s frequent flier program.


Aeropostal (Venezuela)

Aeropostal had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

I don’t have a photo of the normal colours of Aeropostal in that time taken by me. But clicking here you can go to one taken by a third person.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
McDonnell-Douglas MD-82 | Matrícula: YV640T
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: January 2019

DSC_4557.jpg

This McDonnell-Douglas MD-82 is a hybrid. It has the colours of a Malian airline called Imperial Airlines, and Aeropostal titles.

by clicking here you can see the Airplane in Imperial Airlines.


Aerosucre (Colombia)

Aerosucre had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

Aerosucre
Aerosucre normal colours until approximately 2018.

Ramírez.

Aerosucre
Aerosucre normal colours since approximately 2018.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 727-200F | Registration: HK-5216
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: July 2017

DSC_9249.jpg

This Boeing 727-200F was a hybrid. It had the colours of the airline where it used to to fly before Aerosucre, Uruguay’s Air Class Cargo, and Aerosucre titles.

Click here to see it in its former airline. At the time of writing this it’s been already painted with Aerosucre’s normal colours.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 727-200F | Registration: HK-5239
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: March 2019

DSC_7392.jpg

This Boeing 727-200F doesn’t have Aerosucre’s normal colours, but rather a white color scheme with only the titles.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 727-100 | Registration: HK-727
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: May 2013

DSC_0799.jpg

This Boeing 727-100F had a variation of the time’s normal colours in the tail, it had a decal celebrating Aerosucre’s 40 years.


Aerosur (Bolivia)

Aerosur had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

5L
Aerosur normal colours.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-200 | Registration: CP-2659
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: May 2012

DSC_6513.jpg

Aerosur painted a shark in this Boeing 767-200. They called it “Sharko”.

I took the photo through glass, very far away, and at a time with unfavourable light. If you want a better photo of the Airplane click here.

Aerosur also had Boeing 747-400 called “Super Torísimo” (“Súper bullest”), with a bull. I couldn’t take a photo of that one, here is a link to a photo taken by another person.


Air Berlin (Germany)

Air Berlin had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

AB
Former Air Berlin normal colours, they were in transition to the official ones at that moment, which can be seen in the photo below.

Ramírez.

AB
Air Berlin normal colours at that moment.

Ramírez.

Up next, the airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: D-ABKG
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: July 2010

DSC_7830.jpg

The Ruhr region in Germany was the European capital of culture in 2010. The campaign’s official name was Ruhr.2010 – Kulturhauptstadt Europas.

Air Berlin put stickers in several of its Airplanes to celebrate that, with names of different cities of the region, among them, this Boeing 737-800 (see the nose).


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: D-ABGI
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: July 2010

DSC_7689.jpg

The Ruhr region in Germany was the European capital of culture in 2010. The campaign’s official name was Ruhr.2010 – Kulturhauptstadt Europas.

Air Berlin put stickers in several of its Airplanes to celebrate that, with names of different cities of the region, among them, this Airbus A319. In this photo a close-up to the nose to see the sticker with more detail.


3.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: D-ABGI
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: July 2010

DSC_7687.jpg

Besides what I explained in the previous photo, this Airbus A319 had some colours that weren’t the normal old ones, nor the recent ones at the time. They were a kind of mix between both.


4.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: D-ABMB
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_3156.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 had some stickers in the nose about the triumphs of the  Borussia Dortmund football team.

One said “ECHTE LIEBE”, meaning, “REAL LOVE” and the other said “DOUBLE SIEGER 2012”, meaning, “DOUBLE WINNER 2012”.


5.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: D-ABXA
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Fecha: June 2012

DSC_2223.jpg

Air Berlin belonged to OneWorld, and as a member, this Airbus A330-200 was painted with the colours of the alliance.


6.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: D-ALPI
Plance in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: June 2012

DSC_2167.jpg

This Airbus A330-200 had a decal that said “Europe’s most modern airport”.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport was supposed to be it. Works started in 2006, and it was supposed to be operative by 2011. But at the moment of writing this the Airport is not operative, and it’s planned that perhaps by 2020 it will begin to operate, or even 2021.

It’s been one of the most polemic infrastructure works in Germany, because on top of the delays, there have been many cost overruns, works badly done in their execution and planning, and corruption.

That’s something you wouldn’t associate with Germany, but rather with other countries of the north of South America.


>CONTINUE TO LIST A-2


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