airline liveries

ANA’s 1st A380 looks like a turtle

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is celebrating the rollout of its first Airbus A380 from the Airbus Paintshop in Hamburg, Germany.  And the plane is pretty darn cute. 

The new plane sports a paint job featuring the Hawaiian green sea turtle, known as “Honu.” The turtle not only makes a cute livery, it has special meaning: in the Hawaiian language, the sea turtle symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

ANA is scheduled to receive this new A380 jet, nicknamed FLYING HONU, in March 2019. The plane’s inaugural flight is scheduled to leave from Tokyo Narita Airport and travel to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu on May 24, 2019.

ANA is set to get three Airbus A380s and each will feature livery in different colors and with different designs.

The blue livery of the Flying Honu, the first aircraft, links ANA’s corporate color scheme with Hawaii’s blue skies.

The second aircraft is expected to begin operating in July 2019 and it will have emerald green livery inspired by the  waters of Hawaii. 

The third A380 will be orange, in reference to the beautiful Hawaiian sunset.

“The Airbus A380 will be an important addition to ANA’s current fleet and it will allow passengers to reach the scenic islands of Hawaii in comfort and style,” said Yutaka Ito, ANA’s Executive Vice President. “The customized livery adds a personal touch that will make the trip that much more memorable,” he added. 

JetBlue’s new livery honors Puerto Rico

JetBlue unveils a new special livery dedicated to Puerto Rico and people of Puerto Rican descent.

The Airbus 320 aircraft – tail N779JB – is named “Bluericua” and blends JetBlue’s brand with the affectionate name for people of Puerto Rican descent.

The airline says this custom-designed livery is inspired by JetBlue’s admiration for Puerto Rico’s dynamic culture, stunning beauty and the passionate spirit of its community.

It also is one way JetBlue is reaffirming its committment to Puerto Rico and a way for the carrier to remind people to consider Puerto Rico for their next vacation – or to consider a trip home.

JetBlue got help on the Bluericua design from JetBlue crewmembers based in San Juan, Aguadilla and Ponce, Puerto Rico. They identified key cultural symbols to help promote Puerto Rico as Bluericua travels around.

First up: vibrant shade of blue – the brightest JetBlue has used in its fleet, in keeping with the vibrancy of the island.

Layered on that backdrop is the iconic Puerto Rican skyline near El Morro, where seven kites are being flown, representing seven symbols of the island’s culture that include:

  • A Single Star, as inspired by the Puerto Rican flag
  • A Hexagon Kite, in the traditional “chiringa” style for Puerto Rico
  • Dominoes, the ever-present game at gatherings, with the double 6 being the highest tile
  • A Coqui, the singing tree frog and the unofficial symbol of Puerto Rico
  • A Hibiscus, the national flower of Puerto Rico
  • An Iguaca, the parrot found exclusively in El Yunque National Forest
  • and a Tambourine, to celebrate the importance and popularity of music in Puerto Rican culture

Bluericua’s kites start out at the Puerto Rican skyline and “fly” in unison toward the aircraft’s tail fin, to evoke, says JetBlue “feelings of being carefree and happy – all emotions that a trip to Puerto Rico can deliver.”

(Photos courtesy JetBlue)


Huge typo on Cathay Pacific plane

We all make mistakes. But if this spelling mistake on a Cathay Pacific plane is real and not a promotional gag, then heads are certainly going to roll.

Still, it looks like the Hong Kong-based airline is taking the giant typo in stride.



American Airlines rolls out Avengers: Infinity War livery

Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Stand Up To Cancer

Cancer sucks.

American Airlines and Marvel Studios agree. So they have joined forces in the Stand Up to Cancer campaign to create a special airplane livery showing heroes from the Marvel Studios’ film Avengers: Infinity War alongside the Stand Up To Cancer logo and images of cancer researchers and American Airlines employees who are cancer survivors.


Photo: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Stand Up To Cancer

The aircraft was revealed at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday and will fly between New York and Los Angeles as part of the PSA campaign designed to raise funds and awareness for cancer research and treatments.

Want to help? Donate at least $25 to the campaign and you’ll get 10 American Airlines AAdvantage Miles for every mile donated. Details here.

Sky scenes: five new/old airline liveries

 Like decorative or commemorative t-shirts, airplane paint jobs, or liveries, serve as giant ads to promote airline brands or mark special occasions. Here are some new and unique designs recently spotted in the skies.

Qantas goes dotty

Courtesy Qantas

 The newest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for Sydney, Australia-based Qantas came out of the factory covered in a unique design based on the “Yam Dreaming” painting by the late indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

The bold red and white livery features close to 5000 dots and is only the second time in the airline’s history that the iconic flying kangaroo always seen on the aircraft tail has been changed to become part of a special painted design.

Lufthansa rebrands for the digital age


Courtesy Lufthansa

New aircraft livery – the first in almost thirty years – is the major piece of a larger brand update German flag carrier Lufthansa revealed on February 7.

“Against the backdrop of digitalization and changing customer requirements, Lufthansa recognized that the company needed to modernize the aircraft appearance in order to remain up to date,” the airline said a statement.

Displayed first on a Boeing 747-8 and an Airbus A321, the new paint scheme no longer features any of Lufthansa’s well-recognized yellow color but focuses instead on a simpler blue-and-white design that uses a darker shade of the blue specifically designed for carrier. The new livery does keep the carrier’s signature crane on the tail, but the crane is now encircled with a thinner ring that the airline says makes the crane look more elegant and gives it more space.

United Airlines looks forward with a look back

Courtesy United Airlines

United Airlines retired it last Boeing 747 passenger aircraft in November 2017 and gave the iconic humped jumbo jet known at the “Queen of the Skies” a special send-off with a ‘retro’ flight re-enacting the airline’s first 747 commercial flight from San Francisco to Honolulu in July 23, 1970. The flight included Mai Tais and other food and drinks featured on the 1970’s era in-flight menu and a special livery featuring the “Friend Ship” design used on the jet’s first flight.

KLM says farewell to its Fokkers

Courtesy KLM

Airlines replace and retire aircraft all the time, but in October 2017, when Dutch carrier KLM retired the last Fokker aircraft in its Cityhopper fleet, the good-bye was especially bittersweet. That’s because Fokker is the Dutch aircraft manufacturer that made the planes KLM first flew when the airline was formed 97 years ago, and the airline has always had Fokkers in its fleet.

To honor the long partnership, in June 2017 KLM applied a special livery featuring the portrait of aviation pioneer and airplane manufacturer Anthony Fokker to a Fokker 70 aircraft that retired on October 28.

Air France launches jaunty Joon


Courtesy Air France

To battle the ultra-low-cost carriers that have been nibbling away at its market, in December 2017 Paris-based Air France introduced a new airline called Joon that the carrier says is aimed at serving young and always-connected “millennials whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology.”

By summer 2018 Joon will be flying from Paris to 13 short and long-haul destinations and in addition to YouJoon, an inflight streaming system that passengers (of any age) can access on their smartphones, laptops or tablets, Joon’s hopes to signal it hipness with a visual identity that has at its core an electric blue color featured in crew uniforms and in the airline’s livery.

(My story about recent liveries spotted in the skies first appeared on CNBC in a slightly different format).