time to celebrate
jubilee's to look forward to in 2023
January is almost coming to an end, so with 11 more months to go, we can anticipate several airlines celebrating their anniversary with special liveries. In 2022 we saw some interesting liveries passing by, like Qatar airways with their retro style 777-300ER and Copa Airlines with their retro style 737-800.
So what can we expect from airlines this year? And most importantly, can we expect special liveries from airlines? The answer is: Yes.
So here is our top 10 list of airlines to look out for a possible special scheme:
100 years old
Photo copyright: B Bukowski
Finnair is the flag carrier and largest airline of Finland, founded in 1923. Throughout its history, Finnair has operated a variety of special liveries on its aircraft. These have included special designs to commemorate anniversaries, partnerships, and cultural events, as well as liveries promoting environmental initiatives and tourism to Finland. For their 85th anniversary, they used to go retro with one of their narrowbodies. The A319 with tailnumber OH-LVE was active for Finnair until 2012. After this jubilee scheme, Finnair never painted a retro livery or anniversary livery again. But given their 100th anniversary, we have no doubt that they will come up with something.
100 years old
2. Czech Airlines (CSA)
Photo copyright: Petr Juriš
Czech Airlines, also known as CSA, is the national flag carrier of the Czech Republic, founded in 1923. Throughout its history, Czech Airlines also used to have quite some special liveries on its aircraft. The most famous example is probably their set of retro 737-500s introduced in 2011, yet not on behalf of their anniversary. It was on behalf of a heavy maintenance overhaul and repaint which all took place in the Czech Republic. Their anniversary schemes on the other hand we’re more toned down with a sticker on the fuselage of the regular scheme. So what can we expect from CSA this year? Well, not much on the first appearance. Czech Airlines struggled a lot lately and they ended up just having one aircraft in the fleet. The sole A320 with tailnumber OK-HEU. But with air travel and tourism increasing Czech is slowly but surely on the road to recovery, so who knows! CSA can be full of surprises!
90 years old
Photo copyright: Steven He
Air France is the French flag carrier airline founded in 1933. Throughout its history, Air France applied a wide variety of special liveries on its aircraft. For example, Air France has used special liveries to commemorate the French football team’s victory in the World Cup, to celebrate the airline’s 80th anniversary, and to promote tourism in France. Some of the liveries have been also used to showcase the company’s commitment to sustainability and the environment, such as the “Fly Responsibly” livery that emphasizes the airline’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint. The most famous jubilee livery Airfrance used to have was the Retro livery on their A320 for the 75th anniversary of the company. The old Airbus with tailnumber F-GFKJ flew retro from 2008 until 2012 when it got retired for part out and scrap. Ever since, Airfrance only commemorated their anniversaries with stickers on the back of the fuselage. So what should we expect from Airfrance this year? Well, considering Airfrance is partnered with KLM who celebrated their anniversary with a logo on every aircraft, we think this will also be the case with Airfrance. It would be cool to see a new retro livery coming back to life on one of their wide-body aircraft, but the French know how to be stylish. All we have to do is wait!
90 years old
4. Turkish airlines
Photo copyright: Russell Lee
Turkish Airlines, also known as THY, is the national flag carrier airline of Turkey. It was founded in 1933 as State Airlines Administration (Devlet Hava Yolları) and began operating under the name Turkish Airlines in 1956. THY has since grown to become one of the largest airlines in the world, with a fleet of over 400 aircraft and destinations in over 120 countries. In terms of liveries, Turkish Airlines has had a few special designs over the years, including one featuring the country’s national flag and another with the image of the legendary Turkish warrior, Saladin. They also have a special livery with the image of the historic Ottoman Empire’s heraldic symbol, the double-headed eagle and in 2021 they revealed the special livery of a hot air balloon to celebrate their first-ever flight with a hot air balloon in 1955. As for anniversary schemes, one of them is still flying today. A retro-style A330-200 with tailnumber: TC-JNC. So what can we expect from Turkish Airlines? We see chances are slim to see another retro livery. Rather a special sticker able to be applied on every aircraft in the fleet. But given the general pride in Turkish Airlines’ newly stylized logo, an updated livery embarking on a new chapter in their corporate identity would be a great symbolic move.
85 years old
5. TAAG Angola airlines
Photo copyright: Mees Jansen
TAAG Angola Airlines, also known as TAAG Linhas Aereas de Angola, is the national airline of Angola. It was founded in 1938 as DTA – Divisão dos Transportes Aéreos and was later renamed TAAG Angola Airlines in 1973. The airline has operated a fleet of various aircraft types over the years, including Boeing 747s, 777s and 737s. TAAG Angola Airlines has multiple liveries on its aircraft, including some interim schemes from the past and a new livery introduced a couple of years ago on one of their Dash 8 Q400 Turboprops. In recent years TAAG Angola Airlines has been facing financial issues and is restructuring to become profitable again. Therefore we might not see a retro scheme or special livery, but a special sticker and the new livery on one of their wide-body aircraft.
75 Years old
6. El Al
Photo copyright: Aero Icarus
The National airline of Israel, El Al, was founded in 1948. Over the years, the airline has used several special liveries on its planes to commemorate important events or to promote tourism and cultural exchange. Some examples include a special livery featuring the flag of the European Union to celebrate Israel’s inclusion in the EU’s Open Skies Agreement, and a livery featuring the logo of the Maccabiah Games, an international Jewish athletic competition held in Israel. El Al their liveries are mainly inspired on the Israeli flag. Something we see back on their current retro-livery on behalf of the 70th anniversary. So what can we expect from El Al this year? Given the fact El Al already has a retro livery in the fleet we think it’s unlikely to see another full special livery. But with the airline steadily recovering from the pandemic, we shouldn’t be surprised to see a nice touch on one of their aircraft.
20 years old
7. Helvetic airways
Photo copyright: Oliver Holzbauer
Helvetic Airways is a Swiss airline founded in 2003. The company operates flights primarily within Europe but also offers some international destinations. Helvetic Airways has a fleet of aircraft, mostly consisting of Embraer E2s. The airline carries the swiss cross on the tail with a red tail line in euro white style. But they used to start with a completely purple-ish livery with billboard titles only. Kind of like WOW-Air from Iceland. So can we expect a nice touch on Helvetic their anniversary? Most likely a sticker. But wouldn’t it be nice to see a retro with one of their state-of-the-art Embraer 190/195E2’s? Who knows.
20 years old
8. AIR ARABIA
Photo copyright: Anna Zvereva
Air Arabia is a low-cost airline based in the United Arab Emirates. It was founded in 2003 and began operations in 2005. The airline is headquartered in Sharjah and operates out of its main hub at Sharjah International Airport. Air Arabia has a fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft and serves destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and Europe. In terms of special liveries, Air Arabia has painted some of its aircraft with unique designs to commemorate certain events or partnerships. For example, in 2012, the airline painted one of its aircraft with a special livery to celebrate the United Arab Emirates’ 41st National Day. They never painted an aircraft on behalf of their anniversary. So who knows? First time in 2023?
20 years old
Photo copyright: Alexander Babashov
Wizz Air is a Hungarian low-cost airline that was founded in 2003. It has grown rapidly in the past two decades, becoming one of the largest airlines in Central and Eastern Europe. Wizz Air operates flights to more than 45 countries, with a fleet of over 130 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The company has also been known to use special liveries on some of its aircraft, such as the “Hello from Hungary” livery and the “Visit Budapest” livery, as a way to promote tourism and showcase Hungarian culture. It would be fun to see a fake retro livery or a nice full-colored aircraft. Given the creativity of Wizz we are sure they will come with something nice!
10 years old
10. Western global airlines
Photo copyright: Mees Jansen
And the last airline on the list is the only 10 year old freighter from the United States: Western Global Airlines. WGA is famous for operating the MD-11 as one of the only 3 carriers worldwide. A rare sight you could say. So what will happen this year in terms of special liveries? We don’t know. But we are sure that WGA will celebrate this occasion and who knows, maybe with a nice new or special livery?
What do you think airlines will do? Or what would you like to see from these operators?
Leave your opinion in the comments below!