Abu Dhabi airline Etihad's new geometric livery by Landor Associates, supposedly inspired by the colours of the desert landscape, is the latest redesign in a sector that is becoming increasingly bold and playful in its use of graphics
An Etihad A380 tailfin painted in thye new livery. Image: A380_TLS_A350 on Flickr
The airline is calling the scheme Facets of Abu Dhabi. It uses a colour palette which apparently "reflects the varying hues of the landscape of the UAE, from the darker sands of Liwa to the lighter colours seen in the Northern Emirates" and is also inspired by the geometric patterns found in Arab culture.
According to James Hogan, Etihad's president and CEO, “The striking new livery ontinues our commitment to breaking from convention and doing things differently. This is a real divergence from the norms of traditional airline livery design and will stand out in the sky and at every airport we fly to.”
Peter Knapp, Global Creative Officer of Landor Associates, said: “This new livery is a real step change in the industry. I believe there will be nothing like it on any apron in the world. ... We used the ambient geometry present in the architecture and culture of the emirate and reinterpreted it with a sense of Arabian modernism which has become synonymous with Etihad and Abu Dhabi itself.”
Over the next three years, the livery wil be applied to the entire Etihad fleet (and will also be used in interiors, lounges and on advertising) but its first use is on an Airbus A380 which was was unveiled at Airbus in Hamburg at the end of last week. As well as the new livery, the A380 will also feature The Residence, a three-room suite comprising living room, bathroom and bedroom and a butler!
Whenever an airline tries to depart from just featurig a logo on the tails of its aircraft, the spectre of the Newell & Sorrell Utopia British Airways scheme from 1997 (and Margaret Thatcher's reaction to it) is always raised.
It does seem now though that the market is open to more experimentation, with the likes of Avianca, Taca, Iberia and American Airlines all unveiling recent livery redesigns featuring abstract tail patterns. The Telegraph, however, has used the launch of a new Air New Zealand livery to pic our what it feels are the ten ugliest around.
Things do genuinely seem to be loosening up across the sector when it comes to liveries though, with many specialist carriers going for all-over graphics such as this for Kulula
And mainstream national carriers unveiling one-offs like this Pokemon-themed livery for All Nippon Air
and this from Alaska
The Airline World blog even spotted this one, though it has no information on which airline it was. Let's hope it's real and not Photoshop