HI-RES IMAGE (click for larger). Air New Zealand's All Black Boeing 777-300ER comes out of the Boeing paint hangar. Photo by Boeing.

HI-RES IMAGE (click for larger). Air New Zealand’s All Black Boeing 777-300ER comes out of the Boeing paint hangar. Photo by Boeing.

This is not the first aircraft that Air New Zealand has painted black for the World Champion All Blacks rugby team, but it sure is the biggest. Actually this is the world’s largest commercially operated aircraft to be painted completely black.

“It’s a sensational looking aircraft and will really turn heads at airports around the world,” said All Black’s No. 8 loose forward Kieran Read. “I reckon they should paint all their planes like this!”

The special paint job took Boeing just over a week (two days longer than a standard 777 paint job) and 14 painters worked 24 hour shifts — not an easy task.

“It was, without a doubt, one of the most challenging paint jobs we’ve ever done, but the paint team was up for the challenge and the results are absolutely outstanding. I am very proud of what the paint team has achieved,” said Jeff Klemann, Boeing Vice President Everett Delivery Center.

One might think the black paint would cause the aircraft to get too hot, but in reality, the 330 tvs on board the aircraft will create more heat than the paint job.

Air New Zealand is hoping to take delivery of this special 777-300ER in late January 2012 and it will initiate normally schedule flights shortly afterwards. By mid next year, the airline plans to have six additional planes painted in the all black livery, including two Airbus A320s and three Beech 1900D turbo-props. Here is also a video highlighting the creation of the new livery…

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

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I think it looks slick! Save the few necessary safety outlines on exits, the world’s airlines have a mostly free hand with their livery. Most look pretty good and a very few might be called questionable. In my view, let them paint whatever they like. The only livery add-on that has alwalys annoyed me is SouthWest Airlines’ propensity to paint some wheel frames. Those painted wheels are not really ‘hub caps’ in the classic sense, but that’s what they are trying to achieve. The SWA ORANGE on some wheels just – there is no polite way to say it – it just sucks! B737 do not have ‘hub-caps’ and painting to suggest that they do is both dumb and ugly, in my opinion. And, when wheel needs to be changed, to keep a bird in service, the too often substitute an unpainted one. What’s it conna be folks? I’d rather see their bold colors from the top of the gear up. The Boeing 737 does not have ‘Hub Caps!’ And I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

I will miss Rico

Actually Cook, it does have a “hubcap”. Unlike other commercial aircraft the landing gear when retracted does not have doors closing in the landing gear, so the “hubcap” is showing when looking at the underside of the airplane in flight. Southwest paints them so they match the rest of the wing to body fairing. This link makes it more obvious:

Thanks, John, I’ve not seen this photo; you are probably right about the non-scanning radar or tail-warning dievce. The guns might have been fifty caliber, but three is unusual. Not the run-of-the mill B-50, anyway! Best regards Walt

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