Painting the skies
To receive their first paint jobs, many A380s are flown to a dedicated Airbus painting hangar in Hamburg, which is like a vast industrial art studio.
The painting process itself can take just over an hour after a two-week preparation phase, with professional teams using giant cutouts to shape the airplane’s colors and design.
Here’s an Asiana Airlines A380 receiving its livery, its colors and corporate branding. All airlines carry their distinctive brands on their airplane tails and sides, but some A380 airlines go further than others when it comes to transforming their livery into works of art.
Hi Fly – the latest airline to introduce A380s – has used its new livery to make a statement in support of the natural world.
The airline has painted an A380 in support of the Mirpuri Foundation’s ‘Save the Coral Reefs’ campaign. It’s hoped the livery will highlight the urgent need to protect and preserve the oceans of the world.
The stunning ‘Flying Honu’ design is the work of Chihiro Masuoka of Tokyo, who won a design competition that attracted 2197 entries.
The green sea turtle – called ‘Honu’ in the local Hawaiian language – is considered sacred. ANA says it hopes the ‘Flying Honu’ livery will pass on “happiness and luck” to passengers flying to Honolulu.
Wildlife was also the theme across at Emirates, which has its own Aircraft Appearance Centre in Dubai responsible for livery. The centre also recently completed work on repainting the Qantas A380 fleet.
Two of the most famous designs to come out of the Emirates Aircraft Appearance Centre were unveiled in late 2015 to raise awareness of the illegal trade in animals.
The popular ‘United for Wildlife’ livery featured two designs: one with six endangered species and a second with rhinos and elephants.
Both designs stretched from nose to tip and spread across the giant wings, covering 40% of the airplanes. The designs took a team of 28 people almost three days to complete.
Emirates, Airbus A380-861 A6-EEW seen with green EXPO 2020 livery - ZRH 07/06/2018 https://t.co/RchyYVOL3Q https://t.co/M59fL2P3Vz #ZRHmovements #ZRHplanepictures #A380 #avgeeks @emirates pic.twitter.com/gTfpauXTSc— ZRH-Spotter (@Zurichspotter) June 7, 2018
Qantas A380 Sydney-Dallas flight celebrated with a few touches to the standard livery. pic.twitter.com/p2upftkukm— PJ de Jong (PJ) (@jong_pj) October 24, 2014
A plane’s livery help us to identify airlines at airports worldwide. But when it comes to the A380, airlines often have much more to say through their iconic aircraft, be it supporting a team, a great cause or celebrating a milestone.
Why not take a closer look at the livery on your next A380 flight to see if you’re taking a special message with you?