Livery… The word is pronounced like the word "delivery" without the "de" as others have pointed out. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…. An aircraft livery is a set of comprehensive insignia comprising color, graphic, and typographical identifiers which apply to their aircraft (shout out to Wikipedia). So in terms we can all get our head around, livery is your plane’s paint job.
After the Second War, the concept of aircraft livery and branding became more common. Distinguished designers were finally given a new canvas for their work. Livery had represented wealthy families, brands and governments in the past on stage coaches, railway train and steamships but flying livery could be enjoyed by the every man! Within aviation, we even see livery spill over to ground vehicles, gate space, and websites. Where it gets fun though are the one-off custom-designs applied from time to time to individual fleet members. The process itself involves multiple layers of specialized paint, giant decals and of course hours of work.
So is livery just a fancy term for branding? Looks like it! But in the competitive world of commercial aviation, branding plays a huge role in marketing efforts. Having an attractive, uniform fleet installs confidence in travelers. And from a marketing prospective, livery is an advertisement that moves and gets in front of the eyes of thousands, if not millions, of travelers… so it better look good! Now let’s get to the reason you actually clicked this link… one-off aircraft with fresh paint!
All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Star Wars
A couple other major carriers (United and Latam) tried to hop on this wagon, but the ANA B787-9, B77, and B777-200ER schemed respectively with R2-D2, BB-8 and C-3PO liveries can’t be beat. These impressive wide bodied aircraft undoubtedly turn heads where ever they go. Fun fact… the ANA B777-200ER can seat up to 223 passengers. When Darth Vader and the New Order's travel department organize a large group charter, they always consider this special ANA fleet.
“That plane is all Smurf’d Up!” Brussels Airlines A320 dubbed AeroSmurf helped The Smurfs franchise celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2018, and the aircraft features 19 smurf characters as passengers and crew, including Smurfette as the co- captain. The best illustration might be the smurf with the bouquet of French fries lathered with mayonnaise…. so European! With interior livery to match, this unique plane is sure to bring joy into any city she lands in. This livery will remain on this aircraft until 2023, so there’s still a chance to check it out. When Papa Smurf has lots to consider when procuring air charter options, but the Aerosmurf would seem like a good fit.
JetBlue's Special Livery
Our friend's at JetBlue use livery to celebrate their partnerships with teams, destinations and various organizations. Although here at Air Planning, LLC we might be a bit biased towards specific aircraft like Lucky Blue (NBA's Boston Celtics) and Bear Force One (NHL's Boston Bruins), we suppose its ok that there's even one for the NY Jets. Take a look to see what type of work goes into getting livery onto a plane over at JetBlue.
Our next pick is for all the aviation nerds in training out there. The low cost South African carrier Kulula and its “Flying 101” livery will help those that are more curious about aircraft itself. The big green plane allows its viewers to learn more about various parts of the aircraft with cheeky captions displayed on its exterior. The 737’s captain sits right where it says “the big cheese”, and the loo, or “mile high initiation chamber” is more towards the aft.
Hello Kitty's Trip to Nowhere
On a recent air charter to no where, Taiwanese carrier EVA Air turned a massive wide bodied B777-300ER into the cutest Hello Kitty plane you've ever seen! Passengers that have been deprived the experience of flying during a pandemic were able to board, take off and a couple hours later land. It doesn't get much more adorable than this.
The above only scratch the surface on commercial livery. Keep your eyes open as you travel, as you never know when you’ll see you favorite teams logo, or a smurf, on the tail of an aircraft. Although custom livery is so much fun, when picking the best charter option, paint should be low on your list. To make sure you always have the best air charter options and insights, get in contact with team at Air Planning, LLC. If ANA’s R2-D2 B787-800 isn’t available for your next large group charter, well make sure to find you the best and safest alternates!