The 16 coolest airline paint jobs in the world

As airlines and aeroplanes have evolved, so have their “liveries” — the exterior designs, including paint colours and logos, on the aircraft.

As planes crisscross the globe, their exterior graphics not only represent the companies that operate them but in many instances also serve as visual ambassadors for their respective homelands.

A great airline livery gives onlookers a taste of a carrier’s values or its culture’s ethos in an attractive and effective colour scheme.

Airlines like Southwest, Spirit, and American have updated their liveries in recent years, with mixed results.

Others have hit home runs. Here’s a selection of 16 airline exterior designs that look simply amazing.

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16. WOW Air. Since its founding in 2014, WOW Air has made headlines for its low prices. However, the Icelandic ultra low-cost carrier's bright fuchsia paint job has proven to be equally attention grabbing.


15. British Airways: With a waving Union Jack adorning the tail, British Airways delivers a modern take on traditional British elegance.

14. Malaysia Airlines: Even though the A380's future in the airline's fleet remains uncertain, the plane's blue and white livery is unquestionably beautiful.

13. Etihad. Over the past decade, the Etihad has become one global aviation powerhouse and one of the Persian Gulf's trio mega-carriers. The Abu Dhabi-based airline's sandy paint scheme features multi-coloured geometric shapes representing the shift desert dunes surround the emirate.

12. China Southern Airlines: Based out its hub in the city of Guangzhou, China Southern is the country's largest airline. Its elegant exterior design features a combination of multiple hues of blue with its tail dominated by a brilliant red kapok flower.

11. Virgin Atlantic Airways: As with all Virgin Group companies, Virgin Atlantic carries Richard Branson's signature corporate logo. Even though it's been around in various iterations for a couple of decades now, the design still looks as modern and stylish as it did on the day it debuted.

10. La Compagnie: The trendy upstart airline may be all about delivering luxury on a budget, but the Parisian carrier's blue-and-black paint scheme is stylish at any price point.

9. Swiss International Airlines: Swiss International's white-and-red design is pure understated style.

8.Fiji Airways: The recently re-branded Air Pacific is the national airline of Fiji. Its tribal-esque exterior is evocative of the island's rich native culture.

7. All Nippon Airways (ANA): Japan's ANA painted a few of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners with Star Wars themed liveries to coincide with the release of the latest films in the franchise. One of the most famous is a 787-9 painted to look like R2D2.

And this Boeing 777-300ER in BB-8 livery.

6. Air Seychelles: Air Seychelles is the national airline for the eponymous small island nation situated off the coast of Africa. Its stunning livery consists of a pair of 'fairy terns' flowing amid a sea of tropical colours.

5. Kulula: This South African low-cost carrier has built quite a reputation for interesting liveries, but its best effort so far is the 'Flying 101' design that doubles as a teaching tool for anyone interested in the different parts of an airliner.

Here's the view from the other side.

4. Air New Zealand: The airline's new white and black livery, dominated by New Zealand's silver fern symbol and the Maori Koru logo on the tail, is a pleasure to look at.

Air New Zealand

Or this Hobbit-themed design that promotes the movies filmed in the country.

And as the 'Official Airline of Middle Earth,' it's only fitting that the fearsome dragon Smaug adorns the sides of some of Air New Zealand's planes.

3. Hawaiian Airlines: More than four decades after its debut, Hawaiian's trademark Pualani (Flower of the Sky) logo is still one of the most beautiful and distinctive in the business.

2. Icelandair: Icelandair has long been a proponent of its homeland's natural beauty. Which is why the airline painted one of its Boeing 757s with stunning images of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.

To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the airline decorated another 757 with a livery depicting the Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland.

1. WestJet: The winner is WestJet! Over the past of years, the Canadian low-cost carrier has painted a couple of its Boeing 737-800 jets with Disney-themed paint jobs featuring Sorcerer Mickey and ...

... the characters from Frozen.

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