#FlashbackFriday - 17 Great Retro Airline Liveries

Air Retro

During a United Airlines event at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, I saw an Airbus A320 painted in the carrier's Friendship livery, used in the 1970s. I've always been a fan of the old-school liveries, which is why I created my Pinterest board, Retro Airline Liveries. The board has photos of airline paint jobs from the past, and below are 17 examples.

  • 01 of 17
    By RuthAS (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    Speaking of United Airlines' Friendship livery, here's an example of it on a Boeing 747 parked at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. 

  • 02 of 17
    By Nandhp (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

    This is the American Airlines Astrojet livery painted on a Boeing 737. The livery was used by the Fort Worth-based carrier in the 1960s.

  • 03 of 17
    Photo courtesy of Contri/Flickr http://tinyurl.com/o2g7ar3

    This is the Jetstream logo designed for the Houston-based carrier in the 1970s by famous graphic designer Saul Bass. His other works include AT&T, Dixie (the paper plates/cups company), Quaker Oats and the YWCA.

  • 04 of 17
    By Eduard Marmet [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

    Here is a Northwest Orient Boeing 747 parked at London Gatwick Airport in 1983. 

    Continue to 5 of 17 below.
  • 05 of 17
    Photo courtesy of the Delta Flight Museum

    A Lockheed L-1011 takes off at the Atlanta-based carrier's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The Widget logo was introduced in 1962 to signal the airline's entrance into the jet age.

  • 06 of 17
    By Konstantin von Wedelstaedt [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

    French flag carrier Air France painted an Airbus A320 in a livery it introduced in 1946.  The airline used the classic livery to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2008.  

  • 07 of 17
    Photo courtesy of Finnair

    This Airbus A319 is sporting a livery that was used by the Helsinki-based carrier on its fleet of Convair aircraft in the 1950s. It was done to celebrate the airline's 85th anniversary in 2008. 

  • 08 of 17
    Photo courtesy of Przemysław Jahr

    The London-based carrier unveiled this livery, created by Landor Associates, in December 1984. It featured gray, blue and bright red, keeping the Union Jack on the tailfin and adding the airline's coat of arms. It also included the iconic red Speedwing across the fuselage.

    Continue to 9 of 17 below.
  • 09 of 17
    By Communi core by S.Fujioka (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

    Hong Kong's flag carrier adopted this livery, with the Union Jack on the tail, in the 1960s.

  • 10 of 17
    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    This Boeing 747-8i flown by the German flag carrier was painted in a classic livery as it celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016. The only thing different is that the original design had a bare metal fuselage.

  • 11 of 17
    By Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia (KLM (Retro livery), PH-BXA, Boeing 737-8K2) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    This Boeing 737-800 is painted in the Dutch flag carrier's livery from 1960 to 1970 to celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2009. KLM is the oldest carrier still flying under its original name. 

  • 12 of 17


    Photo courtesy of Aero Icarus/Flickr

    Swiss Air Lines leased this Douglas DC-4 in 1997 from South African Airways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the flag carrier's trans-Atlantic flights that started in May 1947.

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  • 13 of 17
    US Airways retro jet in the America West livery. By Konstantin von Wedelstaedt [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

    After Phoenix-based America West merged with US Airways in 2005, the latter created a series of retro jets harkening back to its predecessor airlines. Here is a US Airways Airbus A319 jet in the original America West livery.

  • 14 of 17
    Piergiuliano Chesi [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    Allegheny Airlines was a predecessor carrier to what became US Airways, now American Airlines. This McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jet was delivered to the carrier on March 30, 1970.

  • 15 of 17
    By Eduard Marmet [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

    The country's flag carrier used this livery, seen on a Boeing 747-100, from 1965 through 1988. The livery was adopted after Trans-Canada Airlines was renamed Air Canada.

  • 16 of 17

    Hawaiian Airlines

    By RuthAS (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

     This is a Hawaiian Airlines Convair 640 parked at Honolulu Airport in 1971.

    Continue to 17 of 17 below.
  • 17 of 17
    By Matthew Anderson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (creativecommons.o...], via Wikimedia Commons

    This Constellation aircraft, dubbed the Star of Switzerland, flew for TWA in the 1940s and 1950s. It was restored and donated the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

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