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Colour me painted (K-P)


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

I hope you like it.


Kalitta Air (United States)

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

K4
Kalitta Air normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 747-400F | Registration: N740CK
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: February 2018

DSC_1929.jpg

This Boeing 747-400F was a hybrid, painted with the colours of Kalitta and DHL.


KLM (Netherlands)

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

KL
KLM normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: PH-BXO
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: July 2010

DSC_4871.jpg

KLM belongs to SkyTeam, and as a member, has this Boeing 737-800 painted with the colours of the alliance.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 777-300 | Registration: PH-BVD
Place in which I photographed it: Sao Paulo-Guarulhos GRU | Date: May 2013

DSC_2269.jpg

Another KLM Airplane with SkyTeam colours is this Boeing 777-300.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: PH-BXA
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: July 2010

DSC_7060.jpg

KLM celebrated their 90 years (turned in 2009) by painting this Boeing 737-800 with the colours they had during several years last century, a total retro-jet.


4.
Airplane:
Douglas DC-3 | Registration: PH-PBA
Place in which I photographed it: Rotterdam-The Hague RTM | Date: June 2012

DSC_5451.jpg

This Airplane isn’t operated by KLM per-se, but it has their retro colours.

It was operated by the Dutch Dakota Association. They had an sponsoring agreement with KLM that ended in 2016.

When I took that photo it had KLM on one side, and Air France colours on the other.


5.
Airplane:
Boeing 787-9 | Registration: PH-BHE
Place in which I photographed it: Cartagena CTG | Date: October 2019

DSC_3472.jpg

KLM turned 100 years old in 2019, being the world’s oldest airline.

For that reason,  they painted a number 100 crossed by the dutch flag on their Airplanes. One of those Airplanes is this Boeing 787-9.

DSC_3470.jpg

It can be seen more clearly in the close-up of the photo above, over the engine.


Kolavia (Russia)

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

7K
Kolavia normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A321 | Registration: EI-ETH
Place in which I photographed it: Moscow-Domodedovo DME | Date: May 2012

DSC_4817.jpg

This Airbus A321 was a hybrid, painted with Kolavia titles and part of the colours of its former operator, Onur Air. Especially the gray stripe.

To see it operating there click here.


LAN (Chile)

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

LA
LAN normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-300 | Registration: CC-CXJ
Place in which I photographed it: Santiago SCL | Date: April 2012

DSC_1729.jpg

LAN belonged to OneWorld, and as a member, they had this Boeing 767-300 painted with the colours of the alliance.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: CC-CYE
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: August 2011

DSC_2727.jpg

LAN belonged to OneWorld, and as a member, they also had this Airbus A319 painted with the colours of the alliance.

This one had a special additional decal about the 100 years of the discovery of Machu Picchu.


LATAM (Chile and Brazil)

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

LA
LATAM normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: CC-CPO
Place in which I photographed it: Cartagena CTG | Date: November 2019

DSC_4165.jpg

This Airbus A319 has a sign that says “AVIÓN SOLIDARIO” (“SOLIDARY AIRPLANE”).

I’m not sure why, but it may have to do with the name they have in LATAM for flights they make to regions which have had catastrophes, for instance, a Boeing 767-300F they flew fully laden with donations to Nassau, Bahamas, and other flights such as that one.

This Airbus A319 also had the pink ribbon of the fight against breast cancer.


LOT (Poland)

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

LO
LOT normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Embraer 175 | Registration: SP-LIO
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: June 2012

DSC_2736.jpg

The UEFA Euro 2012 was held in Poland and Ukraine.

LOT, Poland’s airline, painted this Embraer 175 with a motive alluding to the event.


2.
Airplane:
Embraer 175 | Registration: SP-LII
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_3899.jpg

The 600th Embraer E-Jet (a family encompassing the Embraer 170, 175, 190 and 195) was delivered to LOT in 2009.

To commemorate, they put this sticker.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-500 | Registration: SP-LKE
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_4478.jpg

LOT belongs to Star Alliance, and as a member, they have this Boeing 737-500 painted with the colours of the alliance.


4.
Airplane:
Embraer 195 | Registration: SP-LNB
Place in which I photographed it: Helsinki-Vantaa HEL | Date: June 2012

DSC_9400.jpg

This Airplane was painted like this in a campaign to promote tourism in Poland.


Lufthansa (Germany)

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

LH
Lufthansa normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A321 | Registration: D-AIRX
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_3627.jpg

This Airbus A321 was painted with the colours the airline had circa the 60s. A retro-jet.


Lufthansa Regional (Germany)

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

LH
Lufthansa Regional normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Bombardier CRJ-700 | Registration: D-ACPS
Place in which I photographed it: Brussels BRU | Date: July 2010

DSC_8955.jpg

Lufthansa Regional is a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, they have some Airplanes with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members). In this case in particular, a Bombardier CRJ-700.


2.
Airplane:
Bombardier CRJ-200 | Registration: D-ACRC
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: July 2010

DSC_7359.jpg

Lufthansa Regional by then was a mix of different companies, when the Airplane belonged to Eurowings the tail design changed, as with this Bombardier CRJ-200.


Martinair (Netherlands)

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

MP
Martinair normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-300 | Registration: PH-MCL
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: July 2010

DSC_5795.jpg

When Martinair transported passengers, they had this Boeing 767-300 in retro colours.


2.
Airplane:
Douglas DC-3 | Registration: PH-DDZ
Place in which I photographed it: Rotterdam-The Hague RTM | Date: July 2010

DSC_5420.jpg

This Airplane wasn’t operated by Martinair per-se. It was operated by the Dutch Dakota Association, But it had their retro colours.


Onur Air (Turkey)

Onur 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 Onur 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:
Airbus A320 | Registration: TC-OBN
Place in which I photographed it: Copenhagen-Kastrup CPH | Date: June 2012

DSC_1016.jpg

This Airbus A320 had a sign celebrating the airline’s 20 years.


Pegasus Airlines (Turkey)

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

I don’t have a photo of the normal colours of Pegasus Airlines 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 737-800 | Registration: TC-AAP
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5020.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 had a big sign with a telephone number.


PIA – Pakistan International Airlines (Pakistan)

PIA – Pakistan International Airlines had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

I don’t have a photo of the normal colours of PIA – Pakistan International Airlines 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 777-200 | Registration: AP-BHX
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: July 2010

DSC_4951.jpg

This Boeing 777-200 was painted in colours of Quetta, a city in Pakistan. They call it “Nature’s Orchard”, because they say there’s a lot of natural beauty surrounding it.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A310-300 | Registration: AP-BGO
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK  | Date: April 2009

IMG_5593.jpg

This Airbus A310-300 had colours alluding to the city of Gwadar, in Pakistan. It says “Gwadar – The New Port City”.


3.
Airplane:
Airbus A310-300 | Registration: AP-BGN
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: Abril de 2009

IMG_5096.jpg

This Airbus A310-300 had colours alluding to Taxila, en Pakistan. It says “Taxila – The Exquisite Ghandhara”.

Ghandhara is a historic city, and its archaeological ruins lie in that place.


4.
Airplane:
Airbus A310-300 | Registration: AP-BDZ
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: March 2009

IMG_4528.jpg

This Airbus A310-300 had colours alluding to Hyderabad, en Pakistán (not to be confused with the famous Indian city).

It says “Hyderabad – City of Perfume”.


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