Top 10 Best Special Aircraft Liveries Of All Time

Top 10 Best Special Aircraft Liveries Of All Time

As just recently we have discussed the most beautiful regular aircraft liveries, this time we are taking it up a notch. We are going to reveal what we think are the most beautiful special aircraft liveries that airlines have used ever since the beginning of aviation. Airlines paint an aircraft in a special livery to commemorate their birthdays or mark an important date in their history. To celebrate national holidays or to raise awareness towards a cause.

Whatever the case might be, a special livery leaves us starstruck when we get a chance to see one in an airport. Because an opportunity to see a special livery might present itself only once, as these liveries are rare!

Nevertheless, here are the top 10 aircraft that airlines have decorated with a special livery!

10. Embraer – Profit Hunter Special Livery

First up is Embraer. Yes, the aircraft manufacturer! To introduce its new E190-E2 regional jet, the company has decided to advertise the aircraft in a very unique way.

Embraer nicknamed the new jet “Profit Hunter”. The idea is that is so effective, that it hunts down profits like a shark. The jet went on a tour in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, catching looks everywhere it goes. The Brazilian manufacturer set out a goal to increase the awareness of the new jet.

Needless to say, the plan has worked. The Shark turned heads round everywhere it went.

Sadly, we as passengers would not be able to fly the “Profit Hunter”. Embraer used the livery to advertise their jets and no airline uses it commercially.

Nevertheless, the special livery is definitely one of the most interesting marketing solutions.

9. South African Airways – Boeing 747 Ndizani Livery

South African Airways painted the Queen Of The Skies to commemorate the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. The Jumbo Jet carried the hopes of South Africa to new heights. South African Airways called it the Ndziani – flying to new heights.

Decorated in the colors of the flag of South Africa, you can also see the silhouettes of people. As for the Jumbo Jet carrying hopes of the nation, South Africa won 5 medals in total in Atlanta. Suffice to say, the Boeing 747 definitely did help!

Unfortunately, South African Airways retired the 747 in 2004. The airline scrapped the jet for parts and metal in 2008. So, another special aircraft that none of us would be able to fly or see anymore.

That fact makes us sad, as the plane looks absolutely stunning in this livery!

8. Qantas – Boeing 747 Nalanji Dreaming Livery

For over 20 years now, Qantas has honored indigenous Australians with special liveries on their aircraft. The airline released the first of 5 designs in 1994, painting a Boeing 747 in the Wunala Dreaming special livery.

A year later, Qantas dedicated another Boeing 747 to celebrate the heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. This time, the airline called the livery Nalanji Dreaming. Nalanji means Our Place.

And this livery has absolutely won a place in our hearts, as it is absolutely dreamy!

Again, Qantas retired the 747 Jumbo in 2005, meaning you won’t see it in the sky anytime soon.

7. Hi Fly – Airbus A330 Turn The Tide On Plastic Livery

Hi Fly, a charter airline based in Portugal. To raise awareness against plastic floating in the world’s oceans, the airline cooperated with a Portuguese boat with the same name as the livery. The boat competed in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-2018, finishing 5th in the competition.

The airline painted the aircraft differently in each side. On the dark blue side, the ocean is portrayed as polluted and dirty. The other side is a clean and plastic-free ocean, painted in a lighter shade of blue.

Both the airline and the boat are raising awareness on a very important issue. Plastic pollution in oceans has already had a lot of negative impact on the wildlife that roams the waters of the Earth.

Fortunately, you can still see this plane flying around the world. Though the airline has no regularly scheduled flights, as it operates charter services.

6. EVA Air – Airbus A320 Hello Kitty Livery

The Taiwanese airline partnered with Sanrio, the Japanese company responsible for Hello Kitty and other characters to create magic liveries. EVA Air launched the first Hello Kitty aircraft in 2005.

Complementing the livery, the airline also offers Hello Kitty service. The service provides passengers with more Sanrio characters’ items, such as pillows, cookies, seat covers and special in-flight entertainment. Currently, in the air, there are 7 aircraft with the Hello Kitty livery. They exclusively fly to Japanese, South East Asian and North American destinations.

So, if you are planning to visit Taiwan during the coming days, try to spot one of these beauties! Better yet if you get the chance to fly on one!

5. WestJet – Boeing 737 Disney Magic Plane Livery

WestJet teamed up with WestJet Vacations and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts to unveil this special livery.

The Canadian airline revealed the Boeing 737 aircraft in 2013, with a debut flight from Calgary to Orlando, Florida. Orlando is the home of Walt Disney’s Resort. After its first flight, the 737 began flying all throughout WestJet’s destination network, including flights to and from Orlando.

A few fun facts about this special livery: The painters used a total of 36 different colors and it took them 24 days to paint the aircraft. For some reason, WestJet also pointed out the fact that the crew consumed 150 doughnuts when they painted the Boeing aircraft.

Good news is that the aircraft is included in WestJet’s destination network. So, the chances to see or fly one are quite high!

4. Icelandair – Boeing 757 Hekla Aurora Livery

Northern Lights tourism is very popular in the northern countries of Europe. Iceland is specifically known for the natural phenomena that occur when the sun‘s particles hit Earth‘s magnetic field.

Icelandair launched the Hekla Aurora and Vatnajökull liveries to promote tourism to the island. The airline is especially promoting the Icelandic Stopover. The Icelandic Stopover is a term that travelers popularised in the 1960s when aircraft still needed to refuel to fly across the Atlantic. They would usually stop in Newfoundland or in Iceland.

Together with the breath-taking livery, Icelandair also decorated the ceiling of the aircraft to mimic the Northern Lights while in-flight.

3. All Nippon Airways – Boeing 747 Pokémon Livery

ANA or All Nippon Airways caught the Pokémon hype bug before it was cool! They introduced the Pokémon special livery in 1998, on a Boeing 747. From 1998 till 2016, a total of 9 aircraft carried the anime livery.

Anyhow, ANA painted one more of their 747s in May of 2004. And the all-yellow Queen is our favorite out of all the 9 Pokémon aircraft! The Jumbo features such Pokémon as Celebi, Pikachu, Latias, Mudkip, Pichu and many more.

 Sadly, the aircraft was retired in the late months of 2013. ANA retired the Pokémon liveries completely in 2016 when they repainted their Boeing 777 jet. The Triple-Seven flies till this day with the registration number JA754A.

2. Brussels Airlines – Airbus A320 Belgian Icons Liveries

If you are looking for a way to represent your national identity and take pride in the creative work of your fellow countrymen, your best example is right here. Brussels Airlines has 5 aircraft painted in liveries dedicate to celebrate various Belgian cultural icons.

Rejoicing the Smurfs, the festival Tomorrowland, the comic hero Tintin, the Belgian artist René Magritte and the national football team of Belgium, the 5 Airbus A320 jets simply look fantastic.

The best news is that you can still spot these aircraft all around Europe! However, hurry up, as Brussels Airlines won’t keep the Tintin livery past 2020. The airline plans the other 4 liveries will stay till 2022-2023.

1. All Nippon Airways – Boeing 7×7 Star Wars Liveries

ANA stunned the whole aviation world yet again by releasing a set of gorgeous liveries dedicated to the Star Wars franchise. The airline painted 4 aircraft to celebrate the wonderful film franchise.

There are 4 different aircraft:

Including the 4 dazzling Boeing jets, the Japanese airline also created a very thorough website dedicated to the whole campaign, which you can check out here. The Star Wars themed aircraft fly on various international and domestic routes to and from Japan.

And they might be not the most striking liveries out there, but our inner Star Wars said that they are! Thus, they are on top of this list.

To sum up, that covers the top 10 most beautiful special liveries on various aircraft around the world. Have we missed any of your favorites? Share them below!

author avatar
Rytis Beresnevicius
Journalist[br][br]Rytis is a journalist in AeroTime’s editorial team, based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Originally joining the team in 2018, in 2021 he then went onto work in content creation in the logistics and IT sectors, before returning to AeroTime in 2022. He studied media and communications in both Denmark and
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