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Colour me painted (C)


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

I hope you like it.


Cargolux (Luxemburg)

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

CV
Cargolux normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 747-8F | Registration: LX-VCA
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: October 2015

DSC_7970.jpg

Cargolux put a sticker to this Boeing 747-8F in celebration of their 45 years anniversary, which they had in 2015.

DSC_7972.jpg

The sticker aside, these are supposed to be Cargolux’s normal colours from 2010, but at the momento of writing this they have a mix of hybrids, new colours, and the ones they had before, seen in the first photo.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 747-400F | Registration: LX-JCV
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: March 2019

DSC_7495.jpg

This Boeing 747-400F has a variation in the colours, it’s kinda simplified and whiter than the normal colours.


Caribbean Airlines (Trinidad and Tobago)

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

BW
Caribbean Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: 9Y-JME
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: October 2015

DSC_8055.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 had the tail painted in white, instead of the full official colours.


Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)

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

CX
Cathay Pacific normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A340-300 | Registration: B-HXG
Place in which I photographed it: Auckland AKL | Date: September 2014

DSC_2815.jpg

Cathay Pacific belongs to OneWorld, and as a member, had this Airbus A340-300 painted in the colours of the alliance.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 777-300 | Registration: B-KPB
Place in which I photographed it: Hong Kong-Chek Lap Kok HKG | Date: September de 2014

DSC_5738.jpg

Cathay Pacific had campaign called“The Spirit of Hong Kong”.

This Boeing 777-300 was the official Airplane (in fact, it was the third version, but the official when I took the photo).


China Airlines (Taiwan)

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

CI
China Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: B-18610
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5451.jpg

China Airlines painted this Boeing 737-800 with a lavender flowers motive to commemorate the inauguration of their route between Taipei and Sapporo.

Sapporo is the biggest city of the Hokkaido region in Japan, and the region is known for its lavender flower crops, especially in summer. Something like the tulips and the Netherlands.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-300 | Registration: B-18311
Place in which I photographed it: Tokyo-Narita NRT | Date: May 2012

DSC_8062.jpg

This Airbus A330-300 was painted in Taiwan’s sweet fruits.


China Eastern (China)

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

MU
China Eastern normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-300 | Registration: B-2958
Place in which I photographed it: Shanghai-Hongqiao SHA | Date: May 2012

DSC_0180.jpg

This Boeing 737-300 had a green thingamajig beside the title, and I’m not sure whether it is a little leaf, a crocodile, or a swift thunder from the sidereaaal space. But it wasn’t a part of the normal official colours of the airline back then.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-300 | Registration: B-6100
Place in which I photographed it: Shanghai-Hongqiao SHA | Date: May 2012

DSC_0276.jpg

The Expo 2010 was held in Shanghai. This Airbus A330-300 was painted with colours that promoted the event.


China Southern (China)

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

CZ
China Southern normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 787-8 | Registration: B-2727
Place in which I photographed it: Auckland AKL | Date: August 2014

DSC_1623.jpg

China Southern also celebrated the arrival of the Boeing 787 to its fleet by painting it with special colours, as seen in the photo.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: B-6528
Place in which I photographed it: Brisbane BNE | Date: March 2014

DSC_5412.jpg

China Southern belonged to SkyTeam back then, and as a member, had this Airbus A330-200 painted with the colours of the alliance.

At the moment of writing this they’re not in SkyTeam anymore.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 777-200 | Registration: B-2056
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: July 2012

DSC_6926.jpg

China Southern belonged to SkyTeam back then, and as a member, had this Boeing 777-200 painted with the colours of the alliance.

At the moment of writing this they’re not in SkyTeam anymore.


China Xinhua (China)

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

XW
China Xinhua normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: B-5153
Place in which I photographed it: Shenyang SHE | Date: May 2012

DSC_2925.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 was a hybrid between China Xinhua and Chang An Airlines. You can see a similar Airplane operated in the former airline by clicking here.


Condor (Germany)

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

DE
Condor normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: D-AICL
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: July 2010

DSC_8399.jpg

This Airbus A320 had Snoopy on its title.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 757-300 | Registration: D-ABON
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: July 2010

DSC_7259-1.jpg

This Boeing 757-300 had some special colours, and a title that says “Wir lieben fliegen”, something like “We love flying”.


3.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: D-AICG
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_3302.jpg

This Airbus A320 had a sticker on its nose, but I can’t identify what was it about.


4.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: D-AICA
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_3225.jpg

This Airbus A320 had Condor’s retro colours, a livery that was official in the 60s.



Copa Airlines (Panama)

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

CM
Copa Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Embraer 190 | Registration: HP-1564CMP
Place in which I photographed it: Cartagena CTG | Date: April 2018

DSC_7357.jpg

This Embraer 190 had ConnectMiles titles, it’s the frequent traveler program of Copa Airlines.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: HP-1852CMP
Place in which I photographed it: Panama City PTY | Date: February 2016

DSC_2859.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 was the number 100 Airplane Copa Airlines had, and to celebrate it they put that sticker.

It also has a decal that says “PANAMÁ CONECTA AMÉRICA”, meaning “PANAMA CONNECTS AMERICA”.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: HP-1825CMP
Place in which I photographed it: Rio de Janeiro-Galeao GIG | Date: June 2013

DSC_4948.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 was painted the colours of the Biomuseo in Panama City.


4.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: HP-1533CMP
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: January 2019

DSC_2130.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 was painted in MLB colours since Copa Airlines is the “Official Airline” of that sports league.

DSC_2146.jpg

It has different teams logos on each side.


5.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: HP-1534CMP
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: February 2019

DSC_7133.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 was painted with the colours of the Panamanian Football Team.

On one side it says “AEROLÍNEA OFICIAL DE LA SELECCIÓN DE PANAMÁ”, meaning “PANAMA’S TEAM OFFICIAL AIRLINE”.

DSC_7142.jpg

On the other side it says “¡VAMOS PANAMÁ, ESTAMOS CONTIGO!”, meaning “LET’S GO PANAMA, WE’RE WITH YOU!”.


Corendon Airlines (Turkey and Netherlands)

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

XC
Corendon Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-300 | Registration: TC-TJB
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: June 2012

DSC_1981.jpg

Corendon Airlines has a holiday program with included entertainment for kids.

DSC_1999.jpg

This Boeing 737-300 promoted that program.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: TC-TJJ
Place in which I photographed: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: June 2012

DSC_2746.jpg

Corendon Airlines has had a commercial relationship for many years with Detur, a touristic operator in Scandinavia.

This Boeing 737-800 promotes that alliance.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: PH-CDE
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: June 2012

DSC_4845.jpg

Corendon Airlines has a subsidiary in the Netherlands. This Airplane operates for that subsidiary, and has a modified a title.

It says “corendon.nl” instead of “corendon.com”.


4.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: TC-TJG
Place in which I photographed: Rotterdam-The Hague RTM | Date: July 2012

DSC_5193.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 a sticker in the nose that says “100%NL”. Notice that the First Officer saw me taking the photo and decided to greet me.


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