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Colour me painted (A-2)


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 list A-2. In the menu in the beginning, or in the end, you will be able to browse toward the others.

I hope you like it.


Air Canada (Canada)

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

AC
Air Canada normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-300 | Registration: C-FMWY
Place in which I photographed it: Sao Paulo-Guarulhos GRU | Date: June 2013

DSC_2429.jpg

Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, has some Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members). In this particular case, a Boeing 767-300.


Air China (China)

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

CA
Air China normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: B-5177
Place in which I photographed it: Beijing-Capital PEK | Date: May 2012

DSC_3500.jpg

Air China has several Airplanes painted with peony flowers themes. This pink Boeing 737-800 is one of those.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: B-2642
Plane in which I photographed it: Beijing-Capital PEK | Fecha: May 2012

DSC_3339.jpg

Air China has several Airplanes painted with peony flowers themes. This pink Boeing 737-800 is one of those.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: B-5176
Plane in which I photographed it: Beijing-Capital PEK | Date: May 2012

DSC_3557.jpg

Air China has several Airplanes painted with peony flowers themes. This silver Boeing 737-800 is one of those.


4.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: B-6091
Place in which I photographed it: Beijing-Capital PEK | Date: May 2012

DSC_3371.jpg

Air China is a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, has some Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members). In this particular case, a Airbus A330-200.


5.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: B-5422
Place in which I photographed it: Beijing-Capital PEK | Date: May 2012

DSC_3280.jpg

Air China has this peacock themed Boeing 737-800. I’ve no idea why, but I enjoy it all the same.

I took the photo from far away, and it was hot as hell and thus there were lots of distorsion. If you want, by clicking here you can see a better photo of the Airplane.


6.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-700 | Registration: B-5211
Place in which I photographed it: Beijing-Capital PEK | Date: July 2008

IMG_8958.jpg

The 2008 Olympic Games were celebrated in Beijing. Air China as the flag airline of the host country, painted a couple of Airplanes because of the event.

One of those was this Boeing 737-700. I could only take this kind of blurry picture from the window of a United Airlines Boeing 747-400 as we taxied for the runway for departure, almost at dusk.

So, if you want to, by clicking here you can see a better photo of the Airplane.


7.
Airplane:
Airbus A321 | Registration: B-6365
Plance in which I photographed it: Beijing-Capital PEK | Date: May 2012

DSC_3697.jpg

This Airbus A321 has the special colours “Beautiful Sichuan”, promoting that region of China. It has a panda bear, since there are many sanctuaries of the beautiful bears in that region.


8.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: B-6076
Place in which I photographed it: Melbourne-Tullamarine MEL | Date: August 2014

DSC_1091.jpg

This Airbus A330-200 has the special colours “Zichen Hao (Capital Pavilion Liner)”, promoting the renewed business class of Air China at the moment the Airplane was painted


Air Do (Japan)

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

HD
Air Do normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-500 | Registration: JA8196
Place in which I photographed it: Tokyo-Haneda HND | Date: May 2012

DSC_8442.jpg

This Boeing 737-500 was painted in the special colours “Bear Do”.


Air Europa (Spain)

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

I don’t have a photo of the normal colours of Air Europa 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:
Embraer 195 | Registration: EC-LLR
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: June 2012

DSC_4763.jpg

This Embraer 195 had a heart shaped sticker, with a sign that said “ibiza.com”.


Air Macau (Macau)

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

NX
Air Macau normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: B-MAM
Place in which I photographed it: Tokyo-Narita NRT | Date: September 2014

DSC_8080.jpg

The fourth East Asia games were celebrated in 2005 in Macau. This Airbus A319 had a sticker alluding the event.


Air New Zealand (New Zealand)

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

NZ
Air New Zealand normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 787-9 | Registration: ZK-NZE
Place in which I photographed it: Auckland AKL | Date: September 2014

DSC_2550.jpg

This Boeing 787-9 was painted with the colours of the All Blacks rugby team.

By the way, this was exactly the very first Boeing 787-9 to be operated commercially.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 777-300 | Registration: ZK-OKO
Place in which I photographed it: Auckland AKL | Date: September 2014

DSC_3068.jpg

Air New Zealand heavily promoted the movie “The Hobbit”, since it was filmed in its country.

One of the Airplanes used for this was this Boeing 777-300, painted with the dragon Smaug.

DSC_2599.jpg

In the decal you can see it says “The airline of Middle-earth”.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 777-300 | Registration: ZK-OKP
Place in which I photographed it: Brisbane BNE | Date: April 2014

DSC_5549.jpg

Another Airplane that Air New Zealand used promoting “The Hobbit” was this Boeing 777-300.

DSC_5556.jpg

It also says “The airline of Middle-earth”.


4.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: ZK-OJH
Place in which I photographed it: Brisbane BNE | Date: April 2014

DSC_6340-1.jpg

Air New Zealand is a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, has some Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members). In this particular case, a Airbus A320.

This one has a small variation to the usual Star Alliance scheme, with a decal of the 15 years of foundation of the alliance.


Air Transat (Canada)

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

TS
Air Transat normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-300 | Registration: C-GKTS
Place in which I photographed it: Montreal-Trudeau YUL | Date: September de 2014

DSC_9043.jpg

This Airbus A330-300 had a white variation compared with the official colours of the moment.


AirAsia (Malaysia and Thailand)

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

AK
AirAsia normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-300 | Registration: HS-AAS
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5572.jpg

This Boeing 737-300 had a variation in the colours, and a decal in the engines that said “Go holiday”.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HS-ABC
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5549.jpg

This Airbus A320 had some special colours designed by alumni of the Chiang Mai university, north of Thailand.


3.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: 9M-AFW
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5518.jpg

AirAsia sponsored the Williams Formula 1 team for a while. This Airbus A320 was the official Airplane of the alliance.


4.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-300 | Registration: HS-AAI
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5361.jpg

This Boeing 737-300 promoted tourism in Thailand.

“Amazing Thailand” is the official slogan of Thai tourism organization. It also had the “Go holiday” decal.


5.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: 9M-AHQ
Place in which I photographed it: Singapore-Changi SIN | Date: May 2009

IMG_6684.jpg

Bank Rakyat is an islamic bank in Malaysia. They made an advertising agreement with AirAsia, and this Airbus A320 was the result.


6.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HS-ABW
Place in which I photographed it: Hong Kong-Chek Lap Kok HKG | Date: September 2014

DSC_5567.jpg

AirAsia has won the best low cost airline award many times, and to commemorate that, they painted this Airbus A320.


AirAsia X (Malaysia)

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

D7
AirAsia X normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-300 | Registration: 9M-XXC
Place in which I photographed: Gold Coast OOL | Date: April 2014

DSC_6536.jpg

This Airbus A330-300 had a sign that said “2008 BEST NEW AIRLINE. 2009 AIRLINE OF THE YEAR”, celebrating some awards AirAsia X had won by then.


Airbus (France, Spain, Germany and United Kingdom)

Airbus as Airplane makers don’t have some “official” or “normal” colours to paint its Airplanes.

Although they usually have some patterns that remain for some years, for each air fair or tour they usually put different stickers, or change the colours altogether.

So I won’t put any “normal colours” here, but you can see the variations I’ve photographed below.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A380-800 | Registration: F-WWDD
Lugar en que lo fotografié: Farnborough FAB | Date: July 2010

DSC_2192-2.jpg

This Airbus A380-380 flew with this colours in Farnborough 2010. It had a green sticker that said “2010”.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A380-800 | Registration: F-WWDD
Place in which I photographed it: Santiago SCL | Date: March 2012

DSC_8216-1.jpg

This Airbus A380-380 flew with this colours in FIDAE 2012. It has an sticker that says “Love at first flight”.

DSC_7949.jpg

In this close-up we can see the stickers with the logos of the airlines and leasing companies that had bought the Airplane up until that moment.


3.
Airplane:
Airbus A350-900 | Registration: F-WWCF
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: July 2015

DSC_5005.jpg

This Airbus A350-900 flew with this colours, different than the former ones as you can see, in F-Air 2015.


GO BACK TO LIST A-1< | >CONTINUE TO LIST A-3


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