LAP – Portugal Airlines

Aviation Design Studios.

LAP Portugal Airlines is a fictional flag carrier of Portugal, with LAP being an abbreviation for “Linhas Aereas Portuguesas”. It has its wings stretching towards all 4 wind directions, from Asia to  Europe and from Africa to the Americas. Operating a large fleet of widebodies and narrowbodies, it has a huge European presence. The airline has been operating under its own name for nearly 80 years, having been founded in 1946. Starting with a single Douglas DC3 and working its way up to the state of the art A350-900 and A330neo which it currently has in its fleet.

From my early beginnings of graphic design I (Aaron) always wanted to make a Portuguese airline. It quickly showed itself to be a really difficult task. I began looking for inspiration, uncluding different airlines and Portuguese items, like national birds, patterns and other things you would look for when making an airline. It all started with Air Portugal, an airline I made without using any knowledge of graphic design at all. It used a stylized Azulejo tile together with the colour blue. When I was in the process of making the logo and livery history of this airline the basic LAP came out as part of the airline’s business history. This logo turned out to be superior to the one I had lying around and I decided to continue with this LAP logo. I made some curving adjustements and the current logo was born.

livery history

LAP’s livery has gone through many incarnations throughout the years, starting with the first full LAP branding on an L-1049 Super Constellation. The very first LAP aircraft, an old D-Day veteran DC-3 just had some basic LAP titles applied on the wings and fuselage, no real livery. 

The introduction of the legendary and revolutionary 737 into the fleet ushered in a new era for LAP’s branding. A new logo was introduced, together with a completely revised paint scheme. The curvy lines of the Constellation were ditched for a more corporate and era-specific look.

The L1011 was a game changer for LAP. It saved literally tons of fuel by eliminating a 4th engine and introduced a new standard for passenger comfort. The logo was also completely reworked into a more modern icon. The paint scheme was partly inspired by the chrome metal trend and the white logo on red background was there to stay!

When the Boeing 737’s were replaced with the McDonnell Douglasses, another rebrand was put forth. The chrome was moved from the top to the bottom, and the bright red was completely removed.  The logo was kept as is since it was considered still modern at the time.

The year 1998 was a big boost for Portugal since the World Expo was hosted in Lisbon. Since LAP was one of the main sponsors of the event, even funding one of the attractions, they introduced a new livery. This iteration was more in line with the trend of adding more white to the livery and getting rid of the costly chrome. 

Using the same basic layout but completely modernized with added “curvyness” and the azulejo pattern, making it in line with the more flowing LAP logo. All aircraft are given names, for example the A321’s are named after national parks while the A330’s are famous Portuguese cities. One A330 has been given a special livery to promote Portugal as a surfing paradise.

experiencing the product

LAP offers a high quality on board product. Up until 2016 the cabin was divided into 4 classes, but the decision was made to remove business class and rebrand first to a high quality business class. The main color you will see is of course red together with the Azulejo pattern. The seats are modern, equipped with USB-C and normal USB ports, and high resolution screens. All long haul aircraft  and some short-haul are equipped with WIFI. The in flight magazine is named “Andorinha”, the Portuguese name for Swallow. It became a Portuguese icon after the artist Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro made small ceramic sculptures depicting swallows. Since then they are found in nearly every home.

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