African Airline Liveries GUEST BLOG:Colouring the African Skies

Once in a while,Flight Africa blog will feature a guest blogger about African aviation.Two days ago,I got in touch(via Twitter) with Kyle Hwang, an 18 year old student living in Pretoria, South Africa and attending University of Pretoria studying BSc Actuarial and Financial Mathematics.His favorite pastime is airline livery design and he has a great collection at
His airline livery design blog Raydon Designer's Blog is a great delight!In this article written for Flight Africa Blog,Kyle gives us his take on African airline liveries.Enjoy!

 Africa, unlike most continents, are rather poor but ironically creates some of the most excellent (not-so-poor) looking liveries. One can say that the airlines are so happy to get a new aircraft, that they will make sure it looks at its best before taking off to the skies.
African liveries have always looked bland or even unprofessional, often sporting a basic element from the country of origin followed by a cheatline that was always out of proportion. SAA was one of the only African airlines to feature a livery smart enough to compete with other liveries in the early 60's.  Egyptair was the first to compete with SAA  (and in fact the world) by launching a new livery. Although I was never a fan of the "chicken-head-cut-out-of-coloured-paper" logo, it sure was classy and stood out in 1996. Soon, SAA launched an attack in 1997, scrapping the apartheid springbok logo and opting for a newer South African logo and livery (see my take on SAA controversy).  The SAA re-make was so successful that even Air Tanzania adopted the look but failed grasp the South African colour, culture and vibe.
But enough about history, lets look at some African liveries. The are mainly 5 African liveries that travel abroad enough to be recognizable.
1. Air Mauritius

 Air Mauritius rebranded in 2009. The new logo is a more sleek and elegant version of the previous and the standard font has also been replaced with a newer customized font. Air Mauritius’ previous livery was rather basic: red and white, cheatlines, basic shapes (no curves) and their logo. Their new livery features the new logo on the fuselage and partial red waves on the tailfin. Although not very spectacular, I think the new livery is a step forward than the previous livery. Unfortunately, it lacks character and can easily be confused with Qantas and their A330′s.
Like: New Logo, New Font, New Livery is rather elegant but…
Dislike: …lacks character

2. Egyptair

Egyptair rebranded when they joined Star Alliance. Their previous rebrand was in the mid 90′s. Their new livery livery is much more dynamic and although not very Egyptian like, works quite well on the aircrafts. The shades of blue adds a professional feel to the livery as a whole.
Like: My favourite part of Egyptair is definitely their new logo. Not only does it adorn the front fuselage quite dominantly, it creates oppurtunity for a really good looking tailfin. Another feature I like about the Egyptair livery is the amount of blue they used. If you look carefully, their tailfin is not a gradient of blue shades but rather strips of blue that creates a very classy image
Dislike: The font…As old as the mummies!
3. Ethiopian Airlines

To coincide with their 60th anniversary, ET rebranded in 2005. Their new look is based on the old but modernized and simplified. I cannot say much about the ET livery but what I will say is that is slowly started again world recognition. Unlike Air Mauritius, it is distinctive around the world and would look pretty sharp on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner!
Like: New logo, it is simple and does the job
Dislike: Hmm…The font. It looks like its a combination of Amharic and English and cannot decide what it whats to be.
4. Kenya Airways
The problem with KQ’s previous livery was that it looked a lot like Air Mauritius. The new identity launched in 2005 sported a revised logo and livery although the font remained the same (maybe a good thing by judging the two above airlines!). The new livery incorporates the national colours more dominantly and creates a Kenyan feel.
Like: The font that remained the same, the company slogan underneath the titles are rather good looking. I like the rear fuselage too with the national colours that are swirled but…
Dislike: …it is spoilt by some weird looking- beg your pardon – by a letter K that cannot quite fit into a circle. The KQ livery is not bad but besides the national colours, it does not bear much National elements. Maybe a Samburu shield or rhino…
5. South African Airways
Best for last? Since SAA is my flag carrier, I’ll try not to be too biased. I will ramble on the history of SAA’s livery and my view on it. All I’m going to say is-
Like: Eurowhite Scheme with lots of colour
Dislike: Um…let’s not go there. I am rather disappointed with SAA dropping aircraft names. They definitely were not politically related and were representative of the countries Fauna and Flora and geography!
Then there are some small players:
1. Air Austral
2. Nigerian Eagle
3. Rwandair
Air Austral sports a very blue livery with a swirl near the end. I think it was designed quite well and the flowers at the back certainly add a good touch. Nigerian Eagle is definitely moving the the right direction with their billboard titles displayed boldly on their front fuselage. Rwandair’s new livery is rather eye catching but they might start having problems going abroad and their livery is not distinct enough.
A general trend in Africa is that airlines are opting for white liveries, or also known as Eurowhite Schemes. The difference between African liveries and traditional liveries is that Africa tries to make their liveries as colourful and bright as possible in contrast to the rest of the world’s dark perception of Africa. As a result, these liveries normally stand out from the crowd at airports such as JFK, HKG or LHR.
All I am waiting for at the moment is to see a B787 or A380 in an African livery!

Follow Kyle Hwang on Twitter
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1 Response
  1. Vishal Bani Says:

    Nice blog provides lot of information about different companies providing flights in Africa and their services.

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