The 10 Most Colorful Airplanes on the Planet
Airlines around the world spend large amounts of money to create the paint jobs—liveries—for their fleets. They also partner with companies or events to create special liveries for promotional purposes. Below are ten liveries that brought each airline a lot of attention—yep, including Hello Kitty.
The Calgary, Canada-based low-cost carrier unveiled its second special livery plane on Oct. 18, 2015. The Boeing 737 was created to celebrate the popular Disney movie, “Frozen.” The aircraft’s tail features sisters Princess Anna and Queen Elsa. The fuselage shows snowman Olaf enjoying a summer day on the beach. It took the airline 21 days of 12-hour rotations involving a crew of six painters working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to complete. The crew used 643.5 liters of paint of 23 colors. Sparkles were added to the paint in sections to add shimmer and shine as the aircraft moves, and WestJet brought in an airbrush artist to work on details around the sun, water and castle.
On April 15, 2015, this Dallas-based carrier offered a peek at the Missouri One livery, created to celebrate its more than 30 years of service in the state. A Boeing 737-700 has been emblazoned with an artist’s rendition of the Missouri state flag. It’s the ninth special state livery unveiled since the Lone Star state plane, celebrating Texas, in November 1990. Other state liveries include Arizona One, California One, Colorado One, Florida One, Illinois One, Maryland One, Nevada One, New Mexico One and Tennessee One.
The country’s flag carrier went all out when “The Hobbit” movies were released since they were filmed in New Zealand and were produced and directed by native son Sir Peter Jackson. So it was only fitting for the airline to unveil a Boeing 777-300ER to celebrate “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first in a series of movies based on the beloved books by J.R.R. Tolkien. The airline worked with Jackson’s Weta Workshop to create a design that took six days and 400 man hours to paint.
The Taipei, Taiwan-based airline first partnered with Japan’s Sanrio to create its Hello Kitty aircraft, using an Airbus A330-200, in October 2005. A second jet was added in 2006. The first jet was retired in 2009, but the airline created three new liveries—Hello Kitty with Magic Stars, Hello Kitty Loves Apples, and Hello Kitty Around the World—in 2011 to celebrate its 20 years in service that were put on its new A330-300 jets.
Australia’s flag carrier partnered with local design studio Balarinji to create its flying art series. Under the partnership, the airline has painted four jets, including this Boeing 747 called Nalanji Dreaming. Nalanji means ‘our place,’ and celebrates the balance and harmony of nature in “our place” Australia. The 747 was unveiled in November 1995 to celebrate Qantas’ 75th anniversary. The jet was retired in 2005.
The Seattle-based airline’s “Spirit of Disneyland II” livery painted on a Boeing 737-900 features Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck. Unveiled in December 2009, the jet is a tribute to Alaska Airlines’ long-term partnership with California’s Disneyland Resort.
This Tokyo-based carrier unveiled the first of three “Star Wars” themed jets—this one being an R2D2 livery painted on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jet—in September 2015. The airline also has a Boeing 767-300 with a livery inspired by BB-8, another R2-D2 them on a Boeing 777-300 ER and a Star Wars Boeing 767-300.
This South African carrier found itself making headlines worldwide after unveiling its “Flight 101” livery. The livery, created by its in-house graphics team, was part of an effort to demystify air travel and explain some of the unknowns around air travel and flying. Some of the more amusing lines include “The big cheese” pointing to the Captain, “The black box – that’s actually orange,” the Landing Gear “Comes standard with supa-fly mags” and Nose Cone, “radar, antenna and a really big dish inside.” Flight 101 was one of four special liveries created by Kulula—K Dot, Vitality, This Way Up and Europcar.
This long-haul, low-cost carrier, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, unveiled a special Oakland Raiders National Football League livery in June 2009. The livery, painted on a four-engine Airbus A340, features the team’s players and cheerleaders, along with the iconic Raiders logo on the tail. The aircraft, named Xcellence, ties in with the Raiders’ theme “Commitment to Excellence.”
10.Western Pacific Airlines
This now-defunct low-cost carrier, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., based part of its financial model by selling special liveries on its fleet. “The Simpsons” Boeing 737-300, which featured Marge and her tall blue hair on the tail, was unveiled in May 1995. Other special liveries flown by the airline included the Pro Rodeo Hall Of Fame, Purgatory Ski Resort, Sam’s Town Casino, The Broadmoor resort and Thrifty Car Rental.