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Colour me painted (B)


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

I hope you like it.


Bangkok Airways (Thailand)

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

PG
Bangkok Airways normal colours. In reality they have many variations, but this is the most frequent of the repeating ones, so I deem it as 'normal' for this article.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: HS-PGN
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5137.jpg

One of Bangkok Airways’ special colours.


2.
Airplane:
ATR 72-500 | Registration: HS-PGF
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5117.jpg

This ATR 72-500 has special colours promoting Hua Hin, Thailand.


3.
Airplane:
ATR 72-500 | Registration: HS-PGM
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5106.jpg

This one is painted with the colours of Ko Tao island, Thailand.


4.
Airplane:
Boeing 717-200 | Registration: HS-PGQ
Place in which I photographed: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5074.jpg

This Boeing 717-200 is painted with Sukhothai colours. It is the old capital of the old Sukhothai kingdom, one of the forerunners of current Thailand.


5.
Airplane:
ATR 72-500 | Registration: HS-PGK
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5070.jpg

This ATR 72-500 has a delicious topic mix in its colours. It has an Apsara, a nymph from Hindu mythology.

It also has the outline of Angkor Wat, and a head such as the ones seen in the Bayon temple.


6.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HS-PGV
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5061.jpg

This Airbus A320 has colours honouring the marine diversity of Krabi, in Thailand.


7.
Airplane:
Boeing 717-200 | Registration: HS-PGR
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_4937.jpg

This Boeing 717-200 had colours honouring Luang Prabang.

Luang Prabang is a very known place in Laos because of its temples, which are painted in the Airplane.

Laos, meanwhile, is known as the “Thousand Elephants Land”, and that’s the reason why there was also an elephant in the Airplane.


8.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HS-PGU
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5565.jpg

This Airbus A320 has special colours promoting Guilin, China.


Blue1 (Finland)

Blue1 had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

KF
Blue1 normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
ATR 72-500 | Registration: SE-MDH
Place in which I photographed it: Helsinki-Vantaa HEL | Date: June 2012

DSC_9671.jpg

This ATR 72-500 had simplified white colours compared to the official colours of the moment.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 717-200 | Registration: OH-BLQ
Place in which I photographed it: Helsinki-Vantaa HEL | Date: June 2012

DSC_9511.jpg

This Boeing 717-200 had a design with purple colours compared to the normal colours of the moment.

The design was called “Aaltojen Leikki”, something like “Play of Waves”.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 717-200 | Registration: OH-BLP
Place in which I photographed it: Helsinki-Vantaa HEL | Date: June 2012

DSC_8849.jpg

Blue1 was a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, had some Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members).

In this particular case, a Boeing 717-200. This livery had the additional decal because of the celebration of Star Alliance’s 15 years.


BMI British Midland (United Kingdom)

BMI British Midland had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

BD
BMI British Midland normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Embraer 145 | Registration: G-RJXI
Place in which I photographed it: Brussels BRU | Date: July 2010

DSC_9261.jpg

BMI British Midland was a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, had some Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members).

In this particular case, an Embraer 145.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: G-MIDX
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_4487-1.jpg

BMI British Midland was a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, had some Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members).

In this particular case, an Airbus A320.

If you compare with the earlier image, you will see this one has the logos of airlines that also disappeared, such as Mexicana and Ansett.


3.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: G-WWBD
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_3615.jpg

BMI British Midland was a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, had some Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members).

In this particular case, an Airbus A330-200.
This is the third variation of the Star Alliance livery that I photographed in BMI, this one resembling more the current livery they use at the moment of writing this.


4.
Airplane:
Embraer 145 | Registration: G-EMBJ
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_3816.jpg

BMI British Midland had a regional back then. This Embraer 145 belonging to said regional had some simplified  white colours in comparison with the official colours of the moment.


5.
Airplane:
Boeing 757-200 | Registration: G-STRY
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_3731.jpg

This Boeing 757-200 was a hybrid between BMI British Midland and other airline called Astraeus.


6.
Airplane:
Airbus A321 | Registration: G-MEDJ
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_1190.jpg

This Airbus A321 was a hybrid between BMI British Midland and and airline called British Mediterranean Airways.

This second airline used to fly with the colours of British Airways, which can be seen in the blue stripe that the Airplane still had.


Boeing (United States)

Boeing 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:
Boeing 787-8 | Registration: N787BX
Place in which I photographed it: Farnborough FAB | Fecha: July 2010

DSC_3318.jpg

This Boeing 787-8 flew with these colours in Farnborough 2010.

DSC_1992-2.jpg

It was the very first appearance of a Boeing 787 in the United Kingdom.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 787-8 | Registration: N787BX
Place in which I photographed it: Santiago SCL | Date: March 2012

DSC_6954.jpg

This Boeing 787-8 was exhibited with these colours in FIDAE 2012. It was its first appearance in Chile.

DSC_7457.jpg

For its visit to Chile it had a variation in the colours. Here’s a close-up to the logos of some of the airlines that had bought the Airplane by that time.


Bombardier (Canada)

Bombardier 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:
Bombarbier Dash 8-Q400 | Registration: C-GLKU
Place in which I photographed it: Santiago SCL | Date: March 2012

DSC_9461.jpg

This Q400 was exhibited with these colours in FIDAE 2012.

DSC_8156.jpg

Here’s a close-up.


British Airways (United Kingdom)

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

BA
British Airways normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 747-400 | Registration: G-CIVK
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

B94.jpg

British Airways is a member of OneWorld, 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 747-400.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 777-200 | Registration: G-VIIH
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_1440-2.jpg

This Boeing 777-200 had a sticker that said “KEEPING THE FLAG FLYING”.

They wrote it to emphasise the fact that they managed to fly most of their scheduled flights in a strike they had in 2010.


Brussels Airlines (Belgium)

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

SN
Brussels Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: OO-SSC
Place in which I photographed it: Copenhagen-Kastrup CPH | Date: June 2012

DSC_1761.jpg

Brussels 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, an Airbus A319. With the additional decal celebrating Star Alliance’s 15 years.


GO BACK TO LIST A-4< | >CONTINUE TO LIST C


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