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18 airline liveries that will catch any AvGeek’s eye

Aug. 29, 2021
8 min read
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Airlines use their aircraft liveries as a major part of their branding efforts. But sometimes airlines will roll out special liveries for reasons including spotlighting cities they serve, promoting a movie or highlighting a dream destination. Below we take a look at 18 amazing airline liveries.

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Hi Fly’s ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’

Hi Fly Airbus A330's mission is to raise public awareness of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. (Photo courtesy of George Aldrich)

This Airbus A330 is part of an initiative with Hi Fly and the Mirpuri Foundation to raise awareness of sustainability issues. In 2020, Hi Fly became the first airline to be completely single-use plastic-free.

Nok Air

Passengers board a Nok Air Boeing 737 with a bird livery. (Photo by Anusak Laowilas/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Thailand-based low-cost carrier is known for painting its jets using bird themes. They include Nok Omyim (Smiling Nok), Nok Sabai (Nok Comforts) and Nok Dee Dee (Good Nok).

Emirates Arsenal

(Photo by Arsenal FC/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

In 2018, Emirates and Arsenal announced a sponsorship deal, which saw the Emirates name on the Arsenal jersey until at least the end of the 2023-2024 season. As part of the deal, Emirates Stadium in north-central London will remain named as such until 2028. Emirates also threw in an Airbus A380 with a livery featuring Arsenal players.

United Airlines Star Wars

(Photo courtesy of United)
(Photo courtesy of United)

United partnered with Lucasfilm to create this special livery on a Boeing 737-800 to celebrate the movie “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the epic conclusion of the triple trilogy that was the brainchild of award-winning producer and director George Lucas.

Related: Stormtroopers send travelers to a galaxy far away: Inside United’s new Star Wars plane

ANA Star Wars

ANA’s R2-D2 Star Wars Boeing 787 in Seattle on May 12, 2018. (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

Japan’s ANA is really Star Wars livery crazy, with three in its fleet: The R2-D2 (seen above), the BB-8 on a Boeing 777-300 and the C-P3O on a Boeing 777-200.

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Air New Zealand “The Hobbit”

Air New Zealand's "The Hobbit" Boeing 777-300. (Photo courtesy of the airline)

Back in November 2012, the country’s flag carrier honored “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” when it was released with this specially painted Boeing 777-300. The jet served as a great vehicle to showcase the work of native son Sir Peter Jackson, who filmed the entire series in New Zealand.

Icelandair Northern Lights

(Photo by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Icelandair painted one of its Boeing 757-200s in what it called the Hekla Aurora livery, which shows off the Northern Lights. Iceland is one of the countries where you can get peak viewing of the Northern Lights between September and March.

Eva Air Hello Kitty

EVA Air BR190 TSA HND B-16333 Hello Kitty Around The World Livery Airbus A330-302. (Photo by Cy Speed/Flickr)
An EVA Air Airbus A330 in the Hello Kitty Around The World livery. (Photo by Cy Speed/Flickr)

In 2005, the Taiwan-based carrier worked with Japan’s Sanrio to create a fleet of seven Hello Kitty-branded jets. The themed aircraft include specially designed headrests, pillows, airsickness bags and even toilet paper featuring the Hello Kitty brand and characters. You can even eat grilled vegetables and food shaped like Hello Kitty during mealtime.

Rossiya Airlines Flying Tiger

(Photo by Alexander DemianchukTASS via Getty Images)

This Russian carrier painted the face of an Amur tiger on the nose cone of a Boeing 747-400.

Alaska Airlines Disneyland

Alaska Airlines' Spirit of Disneyland® II at Sacramento International Airport. (Photo by Benét J. Wilson)
Alaska Airlines’ Spirit of Disneyland® II at Sacramento International Airport. (Photo by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy)

In 2009, Alaska Airlines unveiled its Spirit of Disneyland® II Boeing 737-900 jet as part of its partnership with the iconic Anaheim, Calif.-based amusement park. It features Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck.

Etihad Formula 1

(Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Etihad Airways is a sponsor of Formula 1 racing and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. So it’s only fitting that they put this special livery on an Airbus A340 (seen above) back in the day.

China Southern Airlines

(Photo by Guo Jun/China News Service via Getty Images)

The Guangzhou, China-based carrier painted one of its Airbus A330 jets to celebrate the China International Import Expo in September 2020.

Southwest Airlines New Mexico

Southwest Airlines' New Mexico Boeing 737 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. (Photo by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy)
Southwest Airlines’ New Mexico One Boeing 737-700 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. (Photo by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy)

Southwest is known for painting its jets to honor the states it serves. Some may prefer more flashy state liveries, but I’ve always been a big fan of New Mexico One, which the airline unveiled in 2000. It features a depiction of the state’s official flag, anchored by the ancient symbol of the state’s Zia Pueblo Indians.

JetBlue Retrojet

(Photo courtesy of JetBlue)
(Photo courtesy of JetBlue)

JetBlue wasn’t around during the the Jet Age in the 1960s. Back then, airlines took to the skies with liveries including United’s Friendship, American’s Astrojet and Delta’s the Widget. So in November 2016, the New York-based carrier introduced the “What’s Old Is Blue Again” livery to pay homage to 1960s travel.

Brussels Airlines’ “Best of Belgium”

(Photo courtesy of Brussels Airlines)
Four aircraft in Brussels Airlines’ “Best of Belgium” series. (Photo courtesy of Brussels Airlines)

The airline wanted to highlight Belgium’s national icons. So it created this fleet of four jets paying homage to comic hero Tintin, Surrealist painter René Magritte, the Smurfs, the Red Devils national football team and the music festival Tomorrowland.

ANA Pokemon

An ANA Boeing 747-400 in the Pokemon livery. (Photo courtesy off Ken Fielding)

ANA unveiled the first of 10 Pokemon-themed aircraft in 1998. By April 2016, ANA’s Pokemon fleet was retired.

WestJet Frozen

(Photo courtesy of WestJet)
(Photo courtesy of WestJet)

The design of this Boeing 737-800, revealed in October 2015, was a collaboration between the airline and Disney. It was WestJet’s second Disney aircraft design. It took 21 days of 12-hour rotations with a crew of six painters working 24/7 at a Fort Worth-based paint facility to complete the design, which also included sparkles to make the jet shimmer.

Kulula Flying 101

(Photo courtesy of Kuala)
(Photo courtesy of Kulula)

This South African low-cost carrier wanted to have some fun demystifying the art of flying. It created this special livery in 2013 to explain how all the parts of a plane work.

Featured image by WestJet's "Frozen" Boeing 737. (Photo courtesy of the airline)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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