#1 South African Airways
If you remember the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta then you won't soon forget this airplane. Hailing from South Africa, this Boeing 747–300 was named “Ndizani.” It was a symbol of the unity displayed among the Rainbow Nation that was just waking up to a new time of liberation and freedom. Considered by many to be a memorable and colorful statement, the message still resonates with our hearts and minds today.
#2 Agnes Bridal
Look to the sky because you never know when you might see something interesting. Take the case of this IAI Gulfstream G150 (c/n 214). With all the colorful design you might think it also belongs to a country bordering South Africa. This plane is every bit as colorful as the first one that we saw. However, it happens to be owned by Agnes Bridal, a wedding dress company based out of Ashland, Oregon. Who knows what they had in mind with this color scheme. Better yet, who cares? We think it's just plane awesome (yeah we just went there with that pun).
#3 The Shark
This plane made quite a splash on its first ever visit to London City Airport. In fact, the airport took to Twitter to congratulate the beauty. This is an Embraer E190-E2 jet making a test flight to work out any kinks. It represents the newest generation of the company and their work. As for the shark, just stay out of its way and you should be fine. It does make for one awesome nose graphic.
#4 Iceland Air
Okay so this Boeing 757 belongs to the Icelandair fleet. that should explain the incredible color scheme decorating the fuselage. What, you thought it was tie-dyed? Nope. Look closer, that's the Northern lights my friends. The graphic designer was so taken with it that he gave the design a name. It's called "Hekla Aurora." We're pretty sure that's Iceland speak for, “Our plane is more awesome than yours.”
Leave it to the world's most popular shoe brand to have a plane just as cool. Decked out in orange and black, this is Nike’s Gulfstream Aerospace G – V – SP G550. Notice the low pass design and shoe soles on the bottom of the wings. It doesn't get much snazzier! Nike's new slogan should be, “We just do it all the time, and do it better than you!”
What coming you thought Nike was the only company with a cool commercial paint job on their jet? Of course not. The Oakley sunglasses paint job looks just as good. Themed out in soft camouflage, with the Oakley symbol on the tail, this Bombardier Global Express jet is a showstopper. We are sure the Oakley execs enjoy riding in it whenever they can.
#7 TAG Aviation
If you are a racing fanatic, this plane might look familiar to you. International Grand Prix race car driver Lewis Hamilton owns this Bombardier ACL – 600–2B16 private jet. To help you understand, Lewis drives a Formula One sports car, has a couple of Mercedes AMG's tucked in his home garage, and travels the globe onboard this cool plane. Not a bad gig.
#8 TAG Aviation
Of course, international airline companies are almost expected to have a flair for the dramatic. Such is the place with Qantas' 737–800 jetliner known as "Mendoowoorji."Tthe design was inspired by late West Australian indigenous artist Paddy Bedford. It features aboriginal art and began serving the skies of Australia in 2013. However, all of the paint work was done at the Boeing factory in Seattle, Washington. Once finished, she was flown overseas to begin domestic routes.
Sometimes corporations miss the mark, even with something amazing. Take this Boeing 737–838 owned by Qantas. the official title is "Yananyi Dreaming" (another Aboriginal artwork inspired design). She flew three flights a week from Auckland to Adelaide in her heyday. Unfortunately, the staff of Qantas did not approve. They referred to her as the "Vomit Comet." Nice.
#10 Nalanji Dreaming
This was number three in the Aboriginal art week series of aircraft painted on Qantas jets. Thankfully, this one was more popular than the “Vomit Comet.” This scheme is called "Nalanji Dreaming." We don't know what those dreams are, but if someone is dreaming about a Boeing 747–338 aircraft with Aboriginal artwork covering the entire thing, we say leave them alone. After all, it's not like they are hurting anyone.
Leave it to one of the major soft drink manufacturers to show off. However, if you're going to show off then you better do it like Pepsi. Not many companies can say they own an Aerospatiale/British Aircraft Corporation Concorde. Even fewer can say theirs looks as good as the one owned by Pepsi. It almost makes you want to fly to France and hang out at the Charles de Gaulle international Airport. That's where this corporate beauty was spied.
#12 Douglas DC-8-62
This is a vintage Douglas with vintage graphics. Known as a super DC–8, the plane itself is owned by Braniff International. The design scheme was created by artist Alexander Calder. He lived an incredibly long time, from 1898 to 1976. The design you see here was one of his last. He produced it in 1973.
#13 Sun Country Boeing
If this plane looks familiar, they're very well could be good reason. This is a Boeing 737–800 Sun Country, who received an incredibly bright makeover. Now, the interesting thing about this brightly colored plane is that Braniff pilots and flight attendants founded Sun Country in 1982. Braniff is known for making bright, jelly bean colored planes so speculation is this could be why Sun Country planes are so bright.
#14 Beluga XL
This plane has earned a name for itself as the weirdest looking plane in the world. And who can blame anyone? The original name was the A330-700L. Kind of boring we admit. However, after years of being compared to a beluga whale this Airbus had its name changed to the Beluga XL. The new paint job obviously helped. This was the winning design chosen after votes were cast by more than 20,000 employees. Who wants to go flying in a whale?
#15 Bangkok Air
This is a popular Airbus A320. The paint job features themes from the Sea complete with the sailboat, fish and scuba diver. This one is owned by Bangkok Airways and is quite popular among plain spotters. In fact, this particular plane can be found as a mini model online and is quite popular with airplane toy enthusiasts. For under $40, you can own your very own, 1/500 scale of course.
#16 Siem Reap Air
Some countries know how to advertise with style. Thailand is one of them. This Airbus 83 20–232 is aimed out similarly to the one in the previous slide. It makes sense because both of these planes are part of the Bangkok Airways fleet. Notice this one gives a head nod to Cambodia with its colors, graphics, and of course the name… Siem Reap Air.
#17 Air China
This Boeing seven 37–80 9L looks spectacular exiting the Hong Kong airport. Of course, you can't really tell that since the background it's all blue skies, but seeing as how the plane is owned by air China, it makes sense. However, why split hairs? Just focus on the snazzy peacock decorating the sides of the plane. It stretches from nose to tail and is echoed on the wingtips and tailfin as well. Pretty impressive, amazingly cool, we are a fan.
So this Dutch Airlines Boeing 777–306/ER has a pretty neat backstory. You have to understand, KLM Dutch airline planes were all painted with blue themes. The orange theme is newer, and this particular plane happen to transform in a mere four days. However, not all of the old elements are lost. The plane transitions from orange to blue as it stretches from nose to tail. and the fact it was accomplished in four days? Well, that's about as fast as painting an automobile.
#19 Private Bombardier
We don't know who owns this private Bombardier BD – 100–1810 Challenger, but we do like the paint job. The blue lines sweep and flow down the side of the plane resembling tiger stripes to a degree. This particular photograph was snapped on location in Brazil. The only clue we have is the H on the end of the plane. Could it possibly stand for Hilton? Who knows. The only way to tell for sure would be to hang around and see who boards.
#20 Long Range Business Jet
So this airplane spent five weeks at a Duncan Aviation facility in Lincoln, Nebraska. The end result was this gorgeous paint job. In total, more than 150 pairs of highly skilled hands worked to complete this design. The total time it took to create such a masterpiece was just under 2,500 hours. Incredible.
#21 Citation M2
Here's another plane painted by Duncan aviation. Actually, it's owned by the company itself. When chairman emeritus Robert Duncan and Karen his wife found this plane, they decided to give it an abstract theme. Teri Nekuda, a 24 year master painter designed this colorful scheme. After 50+ renderings, and Nekuda and the Duncans will their options down to two choices. The first was a blue scheme, and the other was the lime green you see here. Somehow we think the other one would have look just as incredible.
#22 JetBlue Blue Print
So this designs game is a play on words of sorts. JetBlue even features this creative design on their blog. This one is an E190. The plane contains more than 50 unique elements, however, there are a few hidden gems. For instance, towards the rear of the plane you will see a teddy bear in the overhead compartment. This is because JetBlue employees received a stuffed bear for Valentines day one year at their New York offices. It made several appearances and showed up in photos for a while.
#23 Delta Goes Pink
This Boeing 757–200 is owned by Delta, and she is ta-ta tastic. That's right, Delta loves boobies too. This is a breast-cancer awareness plane. You can see the pink ribbons on the tail and the turbines. It can often be seen doing runs between Atlanta and Florida, so if you happen to spot this one in the northern part of United States, consider yourself privileged.
#24 Etihad Airways
This Airbus A380 was the first one received by Etihad Airways. The only reason you need an Airbus is to cram more people inside a plane. Look closely and you will notice a row of windows on the top and bottom meaning you have double-decker seating. The expanded capacity significantly opens up market share for Etihad and we love the graphics!
The “Flying 101” plane is one of the best in Kulula's fleet! The funny design featuring Captain obvious like themes is funny and engaging. Just keep in mind, this is actually the third funny design the airline company has come up with. So, if you happen to find a few other planes with obvious themes and soft jabs at the industry, it's probably a Kulula plane.
#26 Air New Zealand
#27 Maryland One
Southwest Airlines made quite a splash into thousand five with the unveiling of Maryland One. It was a plane themed after the Maryland state flag according to an artist rendering, a 737 to be specific. Top aviation leadership and state leadership were on hand to mark the occasion. Southwest said it was a testimony to the great relationship they have with their Baltimore/Washington customers. She still flies the skies today.
#28 Alaska Salmon
Look at the graphic and the name will have you doubled over with laughter. This is referred to as the Alaska Salmon Thirty Salmon II. That's right, they had another plane themed out earlier. She was a 737 just like this one. So Alaska Airlines thought it was time to redo the graphic. We have to say, they did a fantastic job. We have never seen a bigger fish in the sky, except maybe that previous plane with the shark on its nose.
#29 Duncan Gulfstream V
Okay so here's the deal. We have featured several incredible corporate paint jobs in this set. However, this one is hard to classify. It's not really a graphic paint job, but it is an incredible work of art. This Gulfstream V changes color depending on where and how the light hits it. Commonly seen on high-end automobiles like Lamborghinis and Ferraris, it's rare to see this sort of paint used on a jet, because it is so flipping expensive. However, if you can pony up enough scratch to own a private jet, it makes sense that you could pay for an amazing paint job too.
#30 All Nippon Airways
After taking a 16 year break, ANA airlines return to Sydney in style. This Boeing 787–9 Dreamliner looks amazing as a Star Wars droid. That's right, R2-D2 never looked better, or skinnier for that matter. But hey, who's keeping tabs on that. We just think it's fitting that the Star Wars jet made its debut appearance in the largest Australian city to celebrate its return to service!