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Colour me painted (S)


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

I hope you like it.


S7 Airlines (Russia)

S7 Airlines had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

S7
S7 Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: VQ-BKW
Place in which I photographed it: Moscow-Domodedovo DME | Date: May 2012

DSC_5121.jpg

S7 Airlines belongs to OneWorld, and as a member, they painted this Boeing 737-800 with the colours of the alliance.


Sarpa (Colombia)

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

Sarpa
Sarpa normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
British Aerospace Jetstream 32 | Registration: HK-4350
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Olaya Herrera EOH | Date: January 2006

100_9584.jpg

This British Aerospace Jetstream 32 was a hybrid, it had Sarpa’s titles and the colours of Quest Airlines.

To see it in that operation, click here.


SAS – Scandinavian Airlines System (Denmark, Norway and Sweden)

SAS – Scandinavian Airlines had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

SK
SAS - Scandinavian Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
McDonnell-Douglas MD-87 | Registration: OY-KHU
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_4520.jpg

This McDonnell-Douglas MD-87 had the colours of the Denmark football team. All regarding the 2012 UEFA Euro.

I couldn’t take a full picture because it caught me by surprise, I boarded it in a remote stand to fly to Copenhagen, and it theory it was going to be another Airplane, but they changed it in the last minute.

To see a photo of the full Airplane, click here.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: OY-KBO
Place in which I photographed it: Copenhagen-Kastrup CPH | Date: June 2012

DSC_1612.jpg

This Airbus A319 was painted in retro colours.


3.
Airplane:
Bombardier CRJ-200 | Registration: OY-RJB
Place in which I photographed it: Copenhagen-Kastrup CPH | Date: June 2012

DSC_1270.jpg

This Bombardier CRJ-200 had a sign that said “Flying for Scandinavian Airlines”, and some simplified colours.

The Airplane belonged to a Danish airline called Cimber Air that had stopped flying little time before the photo was taken, and SAS took advantage and made an agreement so the Airplanes would start flying for them.

So they had that sign in order for it to be known that they had nothing to do with Cimber.


4.
Airplane:
McDonnell-Douglas MD-82 | Registration: OY-KHE
Place in which I photographed it: Copenhagen-Kastrup CPH | Date: June 2012

DSC_0907.jpg

SAS 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 case in particular, a McDonnell-Douglas MD-82.


Searca (Colombia)

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

Searca
Searca normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Beechcraft B1900D | Registration: HK-4558
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Olaya Herrera EOH | Date: May 2008

IMG_6645.jpg

This Beechcraft B1900D had colours celebrating the Airline’s 15 years.


2.
Airplane:
Beechcraft B1900D | Registration: HK-4476
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Olaya Herrera EOH | Date: January 2019

DSC_4074.jpg

This Beechcraft 1900D had a simpler and whiter variation of the normal colours of the moment.


3.
Airplane:
Beechcraft B1900D | Registration: HK-4709
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: July 2013

DSC_1345.jpg

This Beechcraft B1900D had a decal that said “Big Sky to Searca”, and modified colours.


Shandong Airlines (China)

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

SC
Shandong Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: B-5590
Place in which I photographed it: Beijing-Capital PEK | Date: May 2012

DSC_3607.jpg

Shandong Airlines had this Boeing 737-800 painted with colours promoting the 2012 Asian Beach Games, held in Haiyang, a city located precisely in Shandong province.

The airplane had a sign that said “Share the Joy”.

I could only take this picture behind a fence, and with a heat from hell and lots of distortion. So if you want, you can click here to see a better photo of the Airplane.


Skymark Airlines (Japan)

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

BC
Skymark Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: JA73NF
Place in which I photographed it: Tokyo-Narita NRT | Date: September 2014

DSC_7892.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 had a sticker of the Japanese manga One Piece. This one had a heart on the winglet.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: JA737T
Place in which I photographed it: Tokyo-Narita NRT | Date: September 2014

DSC_7881.jpg

Meanwhile, this Boeing 737-800 also had a sticker of the Japanese manga One Piece. This one had a clover on the winglet.


Sky Airlines (Turkey and Germany)

Sky Airlines from Turkey (and a German subsidiary) had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

ZY
Sky Airlines normal colours. They varied their colours a lot, but in general, this was the normal colour scheme they used, independent of the actual colour shade.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A321 | Registration: TC-SKL
Place in which I photographed it: Rotterdam-The Hague RTM | Date: July 2010

DSC_5225.jpg

Sky Airlines had an advertising agreement with a Turkish hotel chain called Adam&Eve.

One of the Airplanes they used was this Airbus A321.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: TC-SKR
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: July 2010

DSC_5864.jpg

Sky Airlines had an advertising agreement with a Turkish hotel chain called Adam&Eve.

One of the Airplanes they used was this Boeing 737-800.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: D-AGSA
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_3293.jpg

These were the colours used on this Airplane of the German subsidiary of Sky Airlines. They don’t operate anymore.


Southwest Airlines (United States)

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

WN
Southwest Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-300 | Registration: N352SW
Place in which I photographed it: Baltimore BWI | Date: October 2014

DSC_0048.jpg

Southwest Airlines was born in Texas.

This Boeing 737-300 was painted with the colours of the state’s flag to commemorate that fact, and they put a sign that says “Lone Star”.

Texas is called “The Lone Star State”. And there is a lone star in its flag indeed. That flag gets confused a lot with Chile’s.


South African Airways (South Africa)

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

SA
South African Airways normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A340-600 | Registration: ZS-SNC
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Fecha: July 2010

DSC_3589.jpg

South African Airways is a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, it has some Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members). In this particular case, an Airbus A340-600.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A340-600 | Registration: ZS-SNG
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_4279.jpg

South African Airways inaugurated a route between Johannesburg and Beijing in 2012.

DSC_4278.jpg

To commemorate this, they put a sticker with a dragon and the sign “Beijing 2012” to this Airbus A340-600, as can be seen in the close-up.


StarFlyer (Japan)

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

7G
StarFlyer normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: JA05MC
Place in which I photographed it: Tokyo-Haneda HND | Date: May 2012

DSC_8693.jpg

This Airbus A320 had a sticker alluding to Osaka-Kansai International Airport (code KIX). I’ve no idea why, but nice.


Sukhoi (Russia)

Sukhoi 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:
Sukhoi Superjet 100-95 | Registration: 97005
Place in which I photographed it: Farnborough FAB | Date: July 2010

DSC_2850-2.jpg

This Sukhoi Superjet 100-95 flew with these colours in Farnborough 2010.


SunExpress (Turkey)

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

XQ
SunExpress normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 757-200 | Registration: TC-SNC
Place in which I photographed it: Amsterdam-Schiphol AMS | Date: July 2010

DSC_5520.jpg

SunExpress painted some Airplanes to celebrate their 20 years. One of those was this Boeing 757-200.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-800 | Registration: TC-SNG
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_3681.jpg

SunExpress painted some Airplanes to celebrate their 20 years. One of those was this Boeing 737-800.


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