Link - by A. Abrams

The sky is blue, so why your plane should be simply white? Paint it in all the colors of a sunset... and pretty up the skies!

Some airline companies are clearly out-painting competition with their groovy air fleet. Often called "aircraft livery", such special paint schemes can be exciting and even inspirational. Japan Airlines with their Disney jumbo jets comes to mind, in particular, plus Australian Qantas Airways has been commissioning famous artists to come up with exotic art for their "birds".

On this page we feature some particularly wild and even outrageous airliner paint schemes, from all over the world - send us more examples you spot in the airports or even if you had opportunity to fly inside one of these yourself...

SkyEurope Airlines smile in the sky, photo by Peter de Jong

Or a wicked mummy image (Astraeus - Iron Maiden plane)? Why not! -

(images credit: Sergio Mota and Tom Turner)

Art Planes and Special Event Promotions

First off, Qantas unveiled truly mind-boggling painting scheme for its jumbo jets in "Flying Art" series... (more info) -

Photo courtesy Nathan Zalcman, Arliners.net

Qantas even used some groovy lighting to make a memorable presentation for the delivery of its first A380 -

(image credit: Rob Neil, Pacific Wings Magazine)

Lufthansa's soccer nose - more info, and the whole 2006 FIFA World Championship team painted on TunisAir Airbus A320:

image credit: ChW

JAL "Samurai" national soccer team, photo by Farhad Piran

AirAsia Manchester United soccer players, photo by GlobalPics and EuroFly's Airbus, photo by Mario J. Craig

Aeroflot's Boeing 767-300 "Russian Olympic Team" -

(image via)

From abstract art to portraits of famous people -

Austrian Airlines, photo by Christian Hauser

Smiling faces, and overall cute demeanor -

German Wings "Berlin" plane, photo D. Lausberg, another German Wings smile - photo by kamil Macniak

Zsuzsanna Laky (Miss Europe 2003), photo by Toni Marimon, and "Adriana" plane from SkyEurope Airlines - photo by Eduard Brantjes

Air New Zealand "Lord of the Rings" livery, photos by Michael Carter, Ryan C. Umphrey

Animated characters! -

JAL Boeing 747-446D and other "Dream Express" variations, photos by Kazutaka Yagi, Avibear, Andrew Hunt

Most colorful Dream Express, in two different flavours! -

(image credit: Simon Brooke)

All Nippon Airways, photo by Michael F. McLaughlin

Another All Nippon Airways, photo by Kota Murahashi

(image credit: Shotaro Shimizu)

(image credit: Xu Zheng)

Simpsons livery, photo by AirNikon

Commercial Branding and Advertising on Planes

Did you know there was a "Pepsi" Concorde? - more info here -

(image credit: Stefan Bjärkemark)

Virgin Blue (from Australia) advertising Gillette - more info:

(images via 1)

Bulgari Designer Watches, photo by Don Boyd - and Avis car in the skies, photo by Mark A. Harris

Malaysia Airlines, photo by Brendan Vanderwerf, and "Sleep Well" plane - photo by Trevor Mulkerrins

Dragon Air, photo by Avibear

Alaskan Air - and Horizon Air cool livery, photos via

Even NATO joined in with their own creative military plane livery:

(image credit: Michael Balter)

... Incredible painted German "Tornado" jets formation! -

(image credit: Ronnie Stiffel)

Apparently you have to be very careful where you place your artwork - mind these window openings! In some cases they appear to be placed strategically, covering this girl areas? -

(image credit: Timo Breidenstein)

... and in others, it's clearly a "fail" situation - see the ugly window openings instead of nice eyes of girl on the right:

(image credit: Stewart Andrew)

And finally, in terms of luring passengers into the planes... Western Pacific marketers seem to get it right:

(image credit: Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, AZ, via Airliners.net)

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Category: Airplanes,Art


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Blogger markb120 said...

Great pictures! But how could you miss this one -

Blogger Phosphan said...

One of the "Tornado" jets is a MiG-29. Never mind, nice pictures :-)

Blogger R.K. McSwain said...

Don't forget Shamu...


Anonymous Andyman said...

Some of the art is wonderful but the advertisements are off putting. Is there any place the won't stick an ad?

Anonymous Exodus said...


Anonymous Exodus said...

nevermind, you were right I was wrong. It actually is BULGARI with an U

Blogger Stealthy Dachshund said...

Gorgeous stuff! Is that a Mig? I thought it was an F-18? Still pretty.

Blogger GaryM said...

Hard to imagine the extra weight this adds to aircraft, not to mention extra drag as opposed to a polished aluminum skin. Extra weight + drag = higher fuel consumption = more $$$.

Blogger brian t said...

That Astraeus plane was indeed painted for Iron Maiden, last year. It was co-piloted by singer Bruce Dickinson, who is a commercial pilot for Astraeus when not with Iron Maiden.

Anonymous Slow Joe Crow said...

On the subject of famous people on aircraft it's worth mentioning that the man on the tail of Alaska Airlines' regular planes is William Seward, who as Secretary of State arranged the purchase of Alaska from Russia.

Anonymous José M. / 4PS_Gizmo / SanglassPatrol said...

Tal vez quieras añadir a Bar Rafaeli

Maybe you want add Bar Rafaeli

Blogger Rally said...

One note on semantics: The paint scheme of any airliner (special or not) is known as "livery" -- more specifically, airlines have "liveries", and gthe airliners are painted in it. What you are showing are "Special" or "Commemorative" liveries.

Militaries have been doing this sort of thing for decades. The Canadian Forces, for example, have a long history of commemorative paint schemes, including several quite famous schemes for the CF-104 Starfighter (at least half a dozen different tiger-striped ones over the course of two decades, for example) and a quite spectacular blue, white and gold CF-18 scheme celebrating 100 years of flight in Canada.

Blogger Unknown said...

that is indeed a Mig-29 Germany acquired two squadrons of them when they reunited.

Blogger NIls Holdrinet said...

Qoute GaryM: Hard to imagine the extra weight this adds to aircraft, not to mention extra drag as opposed to a polished aluminum skin. Extra weight + drag = higher fuel consumption = more $$$.

Not really, even the aircraft with a "polished aluminium skin" have several coats of paint (albeit clear paint) on them. It protects the metal against the weather and against UV-radiation.

Aircraft "paint" (it's more a kind of polyurethane coating)is very specialized, it's adapted to the kind of flights the aircraft is going to do. A short-haul aircraft will have a different paint than a long-haul intercontinental jet. Also a lot of airlines have their own mix of paint suited for their operation.

But in a way you are correct, an unpainted plane would be lighter and therefore cheaper to operate. But the aircraft will unprotected and will have a much, much shorter lifetime. And planes are quite expensive to replace ;)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice pictures!
Thanks for sharing ;)

Blogger Unknown said...

This guy catches every rare things come to chitose AP

Anonymous Anonymous said...

after testing by german luftwaffe and other nato alliance partners the mig 29 jets were delivered to the polish air force in 2003

Anonymous tman said...

Actually you are incorrect Nils, American Airlines does not use a clear coat paint. The surface is polished aluminum. The planes get polished at the Main Base Visit heavy checks with what looks like a large shoe polisher on the end of a weed eater. It saves an incredible amount of weight and wear is not much of a problem due to the oxidation of the aluminum. As far as drag is concerned, a well done paint job can actually reduce the drag slightly over polished aluminum because rivet heads and seams can get filled smooth (but I re-iterate that it must be a very good paint job). One of the dilemma's AA has is what to do with the composite 787.

Anonymous Website Design Calgary said...

Does anyone know if these liveries are painted or are they done in a similar way to vehicle wraps? Since nobody is going to be that close, I can imagine the detail isn't important, but the cost of hand painting an area that large, versus printing on a decal and applying it, would be astronomical.


Blogger Quinny said...

The "Mummy Plane" is Iron Maiden's jet from their "Somewhere Back In Time" Tour.

Otherwise known as Flight 666 and flown by Bruce Dickenson himself.

Shame on you! "Mummy Plane"... I mean, REALLY.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Kitty plane. Inside and out.



Some heart plane :

And one more Mickey Mouse :

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably the same way the us flag on Saturn V was: a giant sticker - so yeah, probably vinyl and making sure there's no bubbles

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To add to the above, I can't see them hiring a bunch high rated artists to do some photorealistic jobs, so there's your answer.

Anonymous German Wings Airlines said...

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Blogger Unknown said...

There can't be stickers on planes because the speeds are so high. Even normal paint would peel off a plane.

Does that mean that every one of those people had to be painted on, not decals?

Anonymous Athens Irons said...

Eddie for ever Metal forever


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