See Lufthansa Liveries Change Through the Years

Feb 7, 2018

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Since its founding in the 1950s, Lufthansa has been one of the world’s more consistent airlines when it comes to graphics and corporate identity. After changing to its current livery in the 1960s — blue tail with yellow circle, blue stylized crane in the circle, blue cheatline down a largely white fuselage — the German flag carrier has remained faithful to the model. There’s even a manual on “Lufthansa and Graphic Design” that explains how the airline achieves its remarkably consistent image. (Great gift idea for an aviation-geek significant other, by the way.)

But that changed on Wednesday — a big piece of that identity is going away, upsetting aviation enthusiasts all over the globe. Lufthansa unveiled a new livery for its airplanes that does away with the iconic yellow on the tail, relegating it to a strip near the doors.

TPG was there to cover the official reveal of the new colors in Frankfurt, but, as it’s an office full of dedicated AvGeeks, we wanted to give you a look at the colors that Deutsche Lufthansa Aktiengesellschaft, now grown into the largest airline group in Europe, has sported throughout the years. They all featured the classic Lufthansa yellow — and we wouldn’t be completely surprised if the airline brought back at some point the yellow tail, if only as a retro color scheme painted as a one-off on a single airplane.

Seen below in the mid-1950s: a Lockheed Super Constellation, used on flights to the US. It was the last of the great piston-engined long-haulers before jets took over. Lufthansa flew it from 1955.

Photo by Lufthansa AG/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Photo by Lufthansa AG/ullstein bild via Getty Images


The first jet airplane arrived in 1959, a Boeing 707. Yellow appeared now larger, and on the tail.

Photo by Lufthansa AG/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Photo by Lufthansa AG/ullstein bild via Getty Images


When the first Boeing 747 was delivered in March 1970, it touched down on German soil in Hamburg from the factory in Seattle already wearing its Lufthansa colors. It was the then-new livery that introduced the yellow circle and the Helvetica typeface for the titles. The font isn’t going away with Wednesday’s change, at least.

(GERMANY OUT) Trotz Regen und Wind gab es am Ostermontag, den 30.3.1970, einen Besucher-Ansturm auf dem Hamburger Flughafen. Der erste Jumbojet Boeing 747 traf aus seiner Geburtsstadt Seattle/USA in der Hansestadt ein. An Bord hatte der Riesenvogel als Ehrengäste den Bundesverkehrsminister Georg Leber, Hamburgs Wirtschaftssenator Helmuth Kern und Lufthansa-Vorstandsmitglied Prof. Höltje. Unzählige Menschen umdrängten die 70,51 Meter lange Maschine auf dem Vorfeld vor der Lufthansawerft, bevor sie zum Ausrüsten in die Halle kam. (Photo by Conti-Press/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Photo by Conti-Press/ullstein bild via Getty Images


The white upper fuselage and grey belly remained unchanged until the 1990s, as seen on this Airbus A300 taking off.

Image courtesy of Lufthansa


The yellow-over-blue with white fuselage and Helvetica titles became a group identifier for regional airlines operating under Lufthansa’s umbrella as Team Lufthansa — for example, as seen on this Fokker 50 regional turboprop.

(Photo by Lufthansa AG/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(Photo by Lufthansa AG/ullstein bild via Getty Images)


In the 1990s, the amount of grey on the undersides became smaller, but the livery overall remained the same, as seen on this 747-400 taking off from New York’s JFK airport in 2012.

Photo by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy
Photo by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy


Yellow and blue was also the main color of flight attendants’ uniforms, for example here in Munich in 2015. That’s also when Lufthansa celebrated its 60th anniversary by introducing a special light-blue uniform inspired by the traditional Dirndl dress.

Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images


After the new, yellow-less livery gets introduced, yellow will likely remain throughout the airline’s customer-facing operations, though — for example in airports, such as in this image taken in 2015 at Frankfurt.

Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images


And then there’s the legendary yellow booklet, the timetable that nowadays is available as pdf file but keeps its original color. Generations of young aviation geeks have learned to read airline schedules on it by scanning its clear, elegant (yes, it’s Helvetica) typeface. And we dearly hope that it stays with us for generations to come.

Featured image by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images

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