Posted : July 2013Author : Josef
Ever since the Wright brothers invented the plane in 1903, it has gone through many different changes, shapes, and sizes over the modern years. Today, many airlines proudly show off their planes with some unique art work and designs but some airlines decide to go that extra little bit further and produce some stunning paint jobs. Below are 25 of such planes which grace the skies with color and majesty.
The short lived airline, Western Pacific decided to paint one of their planes with The Simpsons in 1995 as part of the many advertisements that were painted on their planes. Together Bart, Homer, Lisa and Marge graced the sides of the plane until the airline went bankrupt in 1998.
24 US Airways – Arizona Cardinals
In 2006, U.S Airways played homage to the Arizona Cardinals by painting it’s trademark red bird logo along both sides of the plane. Looks pretty cool huh?
23 Lufthansa – Football Nose
Germany held the World Cup in 2006 and Lufthansa decided to do their bit…by simply painting a football onto the nose of the plane. Luftansa did this to 40 of its fleet.
22 Aeroflot – Olympics
Back in 2008, Russian airline Aeroflot painted one of their planes silver and red to honor Russia’s Olympic team. The plane spent weeks flying from Moscow to Beijing and back, shuttling Russian athletes, politicians and dignitaries to and from the Olympics. The pattern on the plane is the same pattern designed on Team Russia’s uniforms.
21 South West Airlines – SI One
This one is for the lads! Back in 2009, supermodel Bar Rafaeli celebrated, landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue, by having herself painted onto a South West Airlines plane……in nothing but her bikini. The plane carried the sexy image from New York to Las Vegas until the airline repainted the plane later on in the year.
20 Austrian Airlines – Wiener Philharmoniker
Vienna has been the starting point for some of the most critically acclaimed composers, orchestras, ballets and artists of all time. Their airline, Austrian Airlines, decided to show off their classical history by painting one of their planes with violins, bassoons, cellos and other various classical instruments as a tribute to the Vienna Philharmonic. It was painted in 2006 but unfortunately repainted a year later so this paint job doesn’t exist anymore!
19 Malaysia Airways – Hibiscus
In 2005, Malaysia Airways decorated two of it’s Boeing 747′s with exotic designs based on red Hibiscus flowers. This was done because the Hibiscus flowers are the national flowers of Malaysia. Unfortunately the planes were repainted back to their old schemes in 2008 meaning that this awesome design doesn’t exist anymore.
18 Virgin Atlantic – Dita Von Teese
Virgin Atlantic is famous for its trademark flying ladies that include Lady Penelope, Lady Luck, Tinker Belle, Barbarella, Diana, Cosmic Girl and Scarlet Lady. Back in 2010 however, to celebrated 10 years of services from Las Vegas to London, Virgin decided to paint Dita Von Teese onto the plane! So if you ever wondered why you ever saw Dita von Teese on a plane, now you know why!
17 Singapore Airlines – Tropical Megatop
Singapore Airlines painted two Boeing 747′s in the late 1990′s in a paint job called the “Tropical Megatop” which was done to promote the airlines new first class and business class service. Unfortunately, one of these planes, Singapore Airlines flight 006, crashed in Taiwan on it’s way to Las Vegas, killing 83 people on-board. The other plane was immediately repainted afterwards and thus this paint job doesn’t exist anymore.
16 Air New Zealand – All Blacks
To celebrate its sponsorship for the New Zealand All Blacks, Air New Zealand turned one of it’s planes quite literally all black, with the trademark silver fern logo painted at the end of the plane. Since 2011 they have six planes painted black which are still in service today.
15 Air France – Pepsi
Yes we know, it’s not a plane, it’s a Concorde! Often seen as a huge feat in modern aviation, the Concorde hasn’t been short of amazing paint jobs. In 1996 Pepsi went through a re-brand and teamed up with Air France to promote themselves. The entire Concorde was painted blue and proudly showed off the new Pepsi logo until it was changed in 2003.
14 Qantas – Wunala Dream
Qantas decided to show off its countries aboriginal culture and heritage by painting its planes in traditional Aboriginal art. The first plane was painted in 1994 and 3 more have been painted since. A team of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists helped to create its extremely colorful designs.
13 Delta Airlines – Pink Plane
Delta Airlines showed its support for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation by painting its planes pink. The first plane was painted in 2005 and the ribbon logo is located near the front of the plane. Their support doesn’t just stop their, employees also wear pink uniforms and sell pink products including pink lemonade and pink headsets on-board.
12 British Airways – Golden Dove
To promote the London 2012 Olympics, British Airways held a contest to design one of its planes for the special event. Out of the many entries submitted, this was the winning design. It took 39 days to paint the Olympic dove. Golden feathers are decorated around the plane and even the jet engines are decorated gold. The logo, which is traditionally red and blue, is also painted gold.
11 Eva Air – Hello Kitty
In a bid to help the declining tourism industry in Taiwan, Eva Air teamed up with Hello Kitty to promote air travel. Many of the cute felines decorate not just the outsides of the plane but even plane seats, boarding cards, check in desks, uniforms and food. Yes that’s right, this plane even serves food designed and cut out to look like Hello Kitty characters.
10 Etihad Airways – Formula 1
Etihad Airways were the official sponsors for the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix back in 2009. To do their part in the sponsorship, Etihad decided to decorate one of its planes in the traditional colors of Formula 1 which are red, black and white with the tail painted to look like a chequered flag.
9 Japan Airlines – Disney Jet
Japan Airlines has been the official partner of Disneyland Tokyo and Tokyo DisneySea Waterpark ever since they opened. Characters such as Micky Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy grace many of the planes the airline has decorated. Japan Airlines announced that they plan to paint six more planes in the future for Disney.
8 Air New Zealand – The Hobbit
Air New Zealand makes another appearance on this list. To celebrate the release of The Hobbit and to promote the country’s film and tourism industry, the airline painted one of its planes with the characters from the film. Even a specially made safety video was filmed using the Hobbit characters for this plane.
7 All Nippon Airways – Fly Panda
In 2007, to celebrate 20 years of flying to China from Japan, All Nippon Airlines painted one of it’s planes as a Panda, one of China’s national symbols. It’s still in service today and is appropriately called the “Fly Panda”.
6 Thai Airways – Royal Barge
To celebrate and honor the king of Thailand, Thai Airways painted three of its planes with the image of the two traditional royal barges, on either side. These traditional barges stretch from both sides of the plane and even have small people painted on them to add attention to detail as well as traditional Thai temples.
5 Swiss Air – San Francisco
Swiss Air unveiled a San Francisco themed plane job to celebrate the launch of its non-stop flight from Zurich to San Francisco. The flower power design includes peace symbols, music notes, love hearts and words painted in hippy like fonts and colors. It took eight people, three days to paint the aircraft.
4 Nok Air – Bird
Nok Air is an airline from Thailand. Nok is the Thai word for bird so in English the name can literally be translated into “Bird Air”. To play homage to it’s name, all of it’s aircraft are painted to look like colorful birds. The beak is painted on the nose of the plane and the rest of the plane is painted in many different designs and colors to make up the feathers.
3 Alaska Air – Salmon-Thirty-Salmon
Alaska Air brought out a plane called the “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon” in 2005 (that’s a play on words for 737 which is the type of plane the airline decorated, a Boeing 737). It was done to celebrate the airlines unique relationship with the people and communities of Alaska and to also promote the state’s seafood industry. The plane was unfortunately repainted in 2011 to the dismay of many and after a year long outcry, the airline brought back the paint job in 2012.
2 Kulula Airlines – Flying 101
South African airline, Kulula Airlines was more than creative with this paint job. The plane is decorated with labels that describe the various parts of the plane and gives a brief description for what they’re used for. The airline did this to raise awareness of some of the unknowns of aviation and to also raise awareness of air safety.
1 All Nippon Airways – Pokemon Jets
Japanese airline, All Nippon Airways, has been decorating it’s planes with the characters from Pokemon ever since 1998 to promote Japanese culture. Nicknamed the Pokemon Jets, the airline has six of them which are still in use today. It’s not just the outside that is decorated though, even cabin, headrests, uniforms, food containers and souvenir bags are decorated in Pokemon designs to make the experience a little bit more special.