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Colour me painted (T-X)


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 T-X, the last one. In the menu in the beginning, or in the end, you will be able to browse toward the others.

I hope you like it.


TAM (Brazil)

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

JJ
TAM normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: PR-MBW
Place in which I photographed it: Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont SDU | Date: June 2013

DSC_3750.jpg

This Airbus A319 was painted in retro colours. TAM had these colours in the 70s.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 767-300 | Registration: PT-MOH
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: October 2015

DSC_8448.jpg

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


TAME (Ecuador)

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

EQ
TAME normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: HC-COH
Place in which I photographed it: Quito-Mariscal Sucre UIO | Date: February 2016

thaicos.jpg

This Airbus A330-200 had a sticker that said “Transportador Oficial de la Selección de Ecuador”, meaning “Ecuador’s Football Team Official Transporter”.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HC-CPB
Place in which I photographed it: Quito-Mariscal Sucre UIO | Date: February 2016

DSC_1740.jpg

This Airbus A320 had a sticker promoting tourism in Ecuador.


3.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HC-CGW
Place in which I photographed it: Cali CLO | Date: December 2014

DSC_0975.jpg

This Airbus A320 had the sticker promoting tourism in Ecuador, and in addition to that, a decal that said “ALL YOU NEED IS ECUADOR”.


TAP Air Portugal (Portugal)

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

TP
TAP Air Portugal normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-200 | Registration: CS-TOH
Place in which I photographed it: Bogota BOG | Date: March 2015

DSC_2572.jpg

TAP Air Portugal is a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, they hace some Airplanes with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members). In this case in particular, an Airbus A330-200.


TAROM (Romania)

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

RO
TAROM normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-700 | Registration: YR-BGF
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_3912.jpg

TAROM belongs to SkyTeam, and as a member, they have this Boeing 737-700 painted with the colours of the alliance.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-700 | Registration: YR-BGG
Place in which I photographed it: Munich MUC | Date: June 2012

DSC_3021.jpg

This Boeing 737-700 had TAROM’s retro colours, a livery that was official around the 50s.


Thai Airways (Thailand)

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

TG
Thai Airways normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 747-400 | Registration: HS-TGW
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: April 2009

IMG_5414.jpg

Thai Airways belongs to Star Alliance, and as a member, they have this Boeing 747-400 painted with the colours of the alliance.

The photo was taken in 2009, in 2019 the Airplane is still painted with the colours of the alliance, only that the winglets were updated to the current purple colours (in the photo they have the former colours).


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A330-300 | Registration: HS-TEK
Place in which I photographed it: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi BKK | Date: June 2008

IMG_7797.jpg

The Royal Barge procession is a very important ceremony in Thailand in royal and religious matters.

This Airbus A330-300 was painted with a Royal Barge, alluding to the ceremony.


Titan Airways (United Kingdom)

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

I don’t have a photo of the normal colours of Titan Airways 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 737-300 | Registration: G-POWC
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: April 2018

DSC_4375-1.jpg

This Boeing 737-300 was travelling around the world before the FIFA Russia 2018 World Cup, promoting the event with Coca-Cola.

That’s something that’s been made in other World Cups with others Airplanes and liveries, and it’s as delicious as Coca-Cola itself.


Transavia (Netherlands)

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

HV
Transavia normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


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

DSC_5922.jpg

Transavia and GOL from Brazil have made several operations in which an airline flies an Airplane that belongs to other according to their respective high and low seasons.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-700 | Registration: PH-OEJ
Place in which I photographed it: Rotterdam-The Hague RTM | Date: July 2010

DSC_5343.jpg

Another hybrid, this Boeing 737-700 had Transavia titles and Canada’s Enerjet colours. Clicking here you can see in its operation in Canada.


Transcarga (Venezuela)

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

T7
Transcarga normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A300F | Registration: YV-562T
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: April 2018

DSC_4782.jpg

This Airbus A300F has the airline’s retro colours, they’re very similar to those of the old Viasa.

As you can see, I took the photo in a bad angle, from far away, with lots hear and distortion. It’s only useful as proof that I actually saw the Airplane and took a photo, haha.

Clicking here you can see it in a decent photo taken by a third person.


Turkish Airlines (Turkey)

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

TK
Turkish Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 777-300 | Registration: TC-JJC
Place in which I photographed it: London-Heathrow LHR | Date: July 2010

DSC_4587.jpg

This Boeing 777-300 had a decal and signs allusive to the official partnership between Turkish Airlines and the Manchester United football team.

It said “OFFICIAL PARTNER OF MANCHESTER UNITED”.


United Airlines (United States)

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

UA
United Airlines normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Boeing 787-8 | Registration: N27908
Place in which I photographed it: Tokyo-Narita NRT | Date: September 2014

DSC_7792.jpg

This Boeing 787-8 had a variation of the official colour scheme. If you compare with the photo of normal colours, you’ll see that it was some wave patterns instead of the straight line of the normal ones.


2.
Airplane:
Boeing 777-200 | Registration: N78017
Place in which I photographed it: Tokyo-Narita NRT | Date: September 2014

DSC_7603.jpg

United Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, and for that reason, they have some Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance (like the rest of the members). In this case in particular, a Boeing 777-200.


3.
Airplane:
Boeing 737-900 | Registration: N66848
Place in which I photographed it: Orlando-International MCO | Date: July 2015

DSC_4110.jpg

March of Dimes is a non-for-profit organisation in the United States works for the well-being of the mothers and their babies.

United Airlines is a partner of the organisation, and painted this Boeing 737-900 partially with their colours.


US Airways (United States)

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

US
US Airways normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: N745VJ
Place in which I photographed it: Washington-Reagan DCA | Date: April 2010

DSC_0043.jpg

At the moment of writing this US Airways no longer exists, it was merged with American Airlines. In their time, the US Airways that existed was also the result of many mergers of other airlines.

DSC_5887.jpg

One of those was Allegheny, and this Airbus A319 had their colours. In the second photo (right the one above) you can see the logos the Airplane had on its door. I took that photo in Boston when I flew precisely in N745VJ between that city and Washington.

They were the logos of Allegheny, Piedmont (you’ll see below), Pacific Southwest Airlines and America West, airlines that had merged with US Airways at that moment.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: N744P
Place in which I photographed it: Washington-Reagan DCA | Date: May 2012

DSC_6394.jpg

Piedmont was another of the airlines of the logos, that had merged to create the US Airways of that moment. This Airbus A319 had its colours in commemoration of that.


3.
Airplane:
Airbus A319 | Registration: N700UW
Place in which I photographed it: Washington-Reagan DCA | Date: April 2010

DSC_0289.jpg

US Airways was a part of Star Alliance, and as a member, they had Airplanes painted with the colours of the alliance. In this case in particular, an Airbus A319. With the merger with American Airlines, they became part of OneWorld.


Viva Air (VivaColombia) (Colombia)

Viva Air (VivaColombia) had the following colours as the normal ones when I took the photos:

VivaColombia
VivaColombia normal colours, up until the name change for Viva Air.

Ramírez.

Viva Air
Viva Air normal colours, the current ones at the moment of writing this. Besides the name, they have subtle changes in the design compared to the VivaColombia ones.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HK-4905
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: December 2018

DSC_1010.jpg

This Airbus A320 was about to be delivered back to the lessor, so after a routine maintenance they painted it all white, and only left the titles for the last days it operated with the airline.


2.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HK-5273-X
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: October 2018

DSC_8413.jpg

This Airbus A320 was painted pink and named “Claudia Obando”.

It’s part of a campaign by Viva Air to create awareness about the importance of the self-exam to prevent breast cancer. In the Airplane it says “tócate” (“touch yourself”), precisely alluding to that.

Many airlines have already made campaigns about that, such as Delta Air Lines or American Airlines, but I don’t remember a Colombian airline doing it before.

Claudia Obando is a Viva Air flight attendant that is a survivor of the illness, and they named the Airplane in her honour.


3.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HK-4817-X
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: August 2012

DSC_6030.jpg

This Airbus A320 operated for a short while as a hybrid. There you can see it with VivaColombia’s titles, and the colours of its former operator, USA 3000 Airlines. Click aquí you can see it flying with their former operator.


4.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: HK-4818-X
Place in which I photographed it: Medellin-Rionegro MDE | Date: April 2012

DSC_4023.jpg

Like the previous Airplane, this Airbus A320 came from USA 3000 Airlines. It wasn’t a hybrid properly, but it didn’t have the airline’s full colours either. Clicking here you can see it flying with its former operation.


Volaris (Mexico)

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

Y4
Volaris normal colours.

Ramírez.

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


1.
Airplane:
Airbus A320 | Registration: N524VL
Place in which I photographed it: Mexico City MEX | Date: April 2015

DSC_2705.jpg

This Airbus A320 had a pink ribbon, because of the campaign against breast cancer.


Western Global (United States)

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

I don’t have a photo of the normal colours of Western Global 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:
McDonnell-Douglas MD-11F | Registration: N581JN
Place in which I photographed it: Miami MIA | Date: April 2018

DSC_4325.jpg

This McDonnell-Douglas MD-11F had a white tail, instead of having the airline’s logo as can be seen in the above’s link.


XL Airways Germany (Germany)

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

I don’t have a photo of the normal colours of XL Airways Germany 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: D-AXLI
Place in which I photographed it: Dusseldorf DUS | Date: July 2010

DSC_8613.jpg

This Boeing 737-800 was a hybrid.

It had the colours of an airline from the United States called Miami Air International (click here to see it in that airline), and XL Airways Germany’s titles.


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