Emily Kame Kngwarreye 787–9 after a delivery flight to Alice Springs; Photo by Qantas

Folklore in airline design

The role of an airline as a promotor of traditional values and national legacy

Traditional values have always been a matter of pride and self-determination. People are proud of their heritage and that is always a good asset to promote around the world through one of the most exposed subjects that a country can provide — an airline company.

Australian torchbearers

Qantas recently introduced their new livery honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians on its latest Boeing 787–9 Dreamliner. The new livery features the work of the late Northern Territory artist and senior Anmatyerre woman, Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

Emily Kame Kngwareye and details from her painting ‘Yam Dreaming’, 1991; Photos by Qantas and Campbelltown City Council Permanent Collection
Qantas 4th 787 named Emily Kame Kngwarreye; Photo by Royal King/Flickr, All Rights Reserved
Nalanji Dreaming (front) and Wunala Dreaming (back); Photo by Qantas
Yananyi Dreaming 737; Photo by Chris Finney
Mendoowoorrji 737; Photo by Qantas

Celebrating traditions

Another country proud of their heritage is Mexico. Its flag carrier Aeromexico is wearing a symbol of an Aztec Eagle warrior since the company was founded. With the introduction of the first 787–9 to their fleet, the company ordered a special livery that boldly celebrates Mesoamerican legacy.

Aeromexico Boeing 787–9; Photo by Esteban Lamas/Flickr
Air China Boeing 737–800; Photo by byeangel/Flickr
Air China Airbus A320; Photo by byeangel/Flickr

Painting an airline from the ground up

To some airlines special liveries are the way to promote the cultural heritage of their domicile country. Their branding is a well known symbol that associates instantly and these experiments are a nice way to grab more attention from a usual sight. But some airlines choose to utilise their branding fully to represent their ethnic roots. Probably the most famous of those case studies is rebranding of Fijian Air Pacific into Fiji Airways. The company actually reverted to the old name that was last used in 1951. The idea was articulated by Futurebrand Australia but entire concept was created by a local artist Makereta Matmosi and based on traditional Masi artwork.

Makereta Matemosi and her’s artwork; Photo by Fiji Airways
Fijian Masi artwork; Image by Fiji Airways
Fiji Airways Airbus A330; Photo by Eric Salard/Flickr
PNG Air ATR 72–600; Photo by Principals Australia
‘Ohana By Hawaiian ATR 42–500; Photo by Hawaiian Airlines
Air Inuit de Havilland Twin Otter; Photo by Feed
Air Inuit branding and typography; Image by Feed

British World Images

At the end let me share an interesting story about the company who decided to share the world heritage. In 1997 British Airways adopted a new livery designed by the London-based design agency Newell and Sorrell. Following this design and in order to make the branding more cosmopolitan the company introduced various tail-fin designs known as Utopia or World Images.

Benyhone Tartan on British Airways Boeing 747–400; Photo by Lockon Aviation Photography
British Airways’ Nalanji Dreaming; Photo by Lockon Aviation Photography
Blomsterang from Sweden on British Airways Boeing 767; Photo by Lockon Aviation Photography
Chinese calligraphy on British Airways Boeing 777–200; Photo by Lockon Aviation Photography

Designer and wannabe flyer — www.aviogeek.com

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