I might as well get this out of the way right at the start: I am a Trekkie. I have tried to love Star Wars and I can appreciate it for what it is. But I have just never been able to get into it and I know not too much about the franchise (spoiler alert: I think Darth Vader is Luke’s father and Luke is Princess Layla’s sister which caused some family awkwardness all around).
However… when you put a nice looking Star Wars livery on a 737, I can sway my sci fi space nerd alliances for one morning. This week (on what was appropriately May 4th), Alaska Airlines unveiled their newest special Disney livery.
It has an eye catching black background with many Star Wars-themed designs and a beautiful green Millennium Falcon “emblazoned” onto the tail. And this isn’t your rattle can paint job. It took 228 gallons of paint, 540 work hours, and over 27 days to complete.
This is the seventh Disney-themed aircraft for the airline; this one celebrates Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The aircraft’s official name is “Star Wars Transport to the Disneyland Resort,” but you can just call her “SWTttDR” for short.
AvGeeks loooooove liveries. An interesting livery is one of the main reasons we go planespotting – we head to the airport to see either a particular type of aircraft, or to see that aircraft wearing a special or unusual livery.
Edmond Huot, Northern Pacific Airways’ chief creative officer and airline designer, explained that “We were given a clean slate to design the livery, the collateral, and the name. I was given a lot of latitude, for sure, and that is the exception to the rule as projects typically come with a framework and the client might be more hands on.”
For the name of the new airline, Huot said he wanted a name that “had an inherent story to it, and I didn’t want a trendy name.”
“Northern was the first name we came up with, but the legal team came back and said we can’t do northern,” so the name eventually morphed into Northern Pacific Airways.
“The stress for me, in the world of airline design, is that you only get one or two kicks at the can, so I already knew up front we had to nail it – I did a lot of research into the factors that would influence the brand – people, regions, etc.
Naming projects are usually very tricky, and that’s when the pressure started. We actually came up with the idea on a plane flying back from a meeting with a different client.”
He continued that “The idea was to come up with a name that wasn’t typical of a LCC (low-cost carrier).”
Brussels Airlines – Belgium’s flag carrier and part of the Lufthansa group – was forced to shut down operations completely during the first wave of the pandemic last year. Since reopening they’ve been gradually ramping services up again. And to keep the momentum going they recently revealed a complete livery redesign.
It’s a spin on the Eurowhite look that’s been increasingly popular around the world: a white background without solid colors or cheatlines on the fuselage. There’s no more dotted “B” on the tail either, but dots still make an appearance on the tail and the front of the fuselage. The nine orange dots in a 3×3 grid (the new core logo) are all different sizes, representing the diversity of the airline’s crew and customers.
I think the colors are the strongest part of the new design. The gorgeous deep blue text goes nicely with the red on the tail. The new fonts are an improvement too. But all those dots? I think they work better on the longer A330 (see the lower-right pic above). But on the A320 they cover more of the fuselage, and the plane ends up looking like it has technicolor chicken pox. Your overall opinion of the livery likely depends on your attitude towards the Eurowhite look. But compared with the dated prior livery, it’s definitely a change for the better. Another clear win is that white paint is lighter and reflects more heat, which offers a degree of environmental benefit.
Comment below to let us know what you think of the new look, livery enthusiasts!