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Colour me painted (A-4)


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-4. In the menu in the beginning, or in the end, you will be able to browse toward the others.

I hope you like it.


Arkefly (Netherlands)

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

OR
Arkefly normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-300 | Registration: PH-AHX
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: July 2012

DSC_6643.jpg

Arkefly back then was in a period of mergers and consolidations with other companies of the sector such as HollandExel.

For that reason, some Airplanes such as this Boeing 767-300 didn’t have the official colours of the moment. The official ones were the blue shown above.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: N739MA
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: July 2012

DSC_6764.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 was a hybrid. It had colours of an airline from the United States called Miami Air International (click here to see it in that airline), and Arkefly titles.


Armavia (Armenia)

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

I don’t have a photo of the normal colours of Armavia 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 737-500 | Registration: EK-73772
Place in which I photographed it: Moscow-Vnukovo VKO | Date: May 2012

DSC_5761.jpg

This Boeing 737-500 still had partial colours of its former operator, CSA Czech Airlines, which would make it a kind of hybrid.

You can click here to see it when it flew for that airline.


Atlantic Airways (Faroe Islands)

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

RC
Atlantic Airways normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
British Aerospace Avro RJ85 | Registration: OY-RCD
Place in which I photographed it: Copenhagen-Kastrup CPH | Date: June 2012

DSC_1279.jpg

This Avro RJ85 had a white and simplified variation of the normal colours.


Atlas Air (United States)

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

5Y
Atlas Air normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 747-400 | Registration: N263SG
Place in which I photographed it: Santiago SCL | Date: April 2012

DSC_2288.jpg

This Boeing 747-400 had a variation compared to the normal colours.

DSC_2284.jpg

At that moment, they were transporting the Foo Fighters after a gig in Santiago the earlier day. And for that reason, the Airplane had some stickers of the band in the nose and the engines.


ATR (France and Italy)

ATR 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 airline’s Airplanes with special colours I’ve photographed:


1.
Airplane:
ATR 72-600 | Registration: F-WWEY
Place in which I photographed it: Farnborough FAB | Date: July 2010

DSC_2043-2.jpg

This ATR 72-600 was exhibited with these colours in Farnborough 2010.


Austrian Airlines (Austria)

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

OS
Austrian Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: OE-LNT
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_1100.jpg

Austrian Airlines 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 737-800.


Avianca (Colombia)

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

AV
Avianca normal colours from 2005 until 2013.

Ramírez.

AV
Avianca normal colours from 2013. The current ones at the time of writing this.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
McDonnell-Douglas MD-83 | Registration: EI-CEQ
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: January 2008

IMG_4894.jpg

I don’t remember the origin of this agreement, but many years ago Avianca had some Airplanes painted with liveries alluding to the Colombia National Coffee Growers Federation, and its character, Juan Valdez.

IMG_4889.jpg

One of these Airplanes was this McDonnell-Douglas MD-83, the EI-CEQ.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-200 | Registration: N988AN
Place in which I photographed it: Bogota BOG | Date: March 2009

IMG_3348.jpg

Another Airplane with Juan Valdez colours was this Boeing 767-200.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 757-200 | Registration: N522NA
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: May 2008

IMG_6323.jpg

The third Airplane with Juan Valdez colours that I could photograph was this Boeing 757-200.


4.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-200 | Registration: N728CG
Place in which I photographed it: Bogota BOG | Date: March 2010

IMG_9409.jpg

Many years ago there was a kind of strong campaign to establish a country brand for Colombia.

Nowadays they use a multi-coloured logo, but in those days a heart-shaped one was gaining momentum. That initial logo was in this Boeing 767-200 for some time.


5.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: N973AV
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: August 2010

DSC_5639.jpg

Avianca turned 90 years old in 2009.

To celebrate the fact, they put a sticker that said “90 años” (“90 years”) in two Airplanes. This Airbus A330-200 was one of them.


6.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: N416AV
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: August 2010

DSC_6340.jpg

The other Airplane having the 90 years sticker was this Airbus A320, registration N416AV.

As an additional note on Avianca, they have had many hybrids, and also had a pair of very interesting retro-jets that I couldn’t photograph.

The first of these retro was a McDonnell-Douglas MD-83, and the second a Boeing 757-200.


7.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: N477AV
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: March 2013

DSC_9205.jpg

Avianca, as a member of Star Alliance, has many Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance.

In this example, an Airbus A320, similar (or perhaps even the same) that was arriving when the dialogue I mentioned in the introduction took place.


8.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: N726AV
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: July 2016

DSC_4811.jpg

For a while, Avianca had this Airbus A319 with a sticker alluding to the Colombia national football team.


9.
Airplane:
Boeing 787-8 | Registration: N796AV
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: January 2019

DSC_4566.jpg

Avianca was the airline in charge of transporting pope Francis in his visit to Colombia in 2017.

For thit reason, they put to the Airplanes that transporten him (and some others) a sticker that says “#ViajeDeEsperanza” (“#VoyageOfHope”).

Besides that, they were in charge of transporting him again in his visit to Panama in 2019 for the World Youth Day. For this reason they put an additional sticker on the nose of this Boeing 787-8, right below the Star Alliance logo.


Azul (Brazil)

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

AD
Azul normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Embraer 195 | Registration: PR-AXL
Place in which I photographed it: Tabatinga TBT | Date: November 2018

DSC_9766.jpg

Caixa is a Brazilian bank, and the points of their program can be transferred to the frequent traveler program of Azul. In addition, they have Azul branded credit cards.

That alliance is promoted with a sticker in this Embraer 195.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: PR-AIU
Place in which I photographed it: Fort Lauderdale FLL | Date: April 2018

DSC_4933.jpg

Azul has a travel packages subsidiary called Azul Viagens. This Airbus A330-200 is painted to promote it.


3.
Airplane:
Embraer 190 | Registration: PR-AZL
Place in which I photographed it: Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont SDU | Date: June 2013

DSC_3870.jpg

Tudo Azul is Azul’s points program. This Embraer 190 promotes it.


4.
Airplane:
Embraer 195 | Registration: PR-AYV
Place in which I photographed it: Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont SDU | Date: June 2013

DSC_3845.jpg

This Embraer 195 is painted with the colours of the Brazilian flag.

In addition to that, it has a sign that says “Azul. É o Brasil la em cima”, something like “Azul. It’s Brazil up there”.


5.
Airplane:
Embraer 195 | Registration: PR-AYU
Place in which I photographed it: Sao Paulo-Guarulhos GRU | Date: May 2013

DSC_1719.jpg

Wizard is a languages school in Brazil. This Embraer 195 had advertising of the school.


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


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