50 Shades of Grey Airline Liveries… well, nearly!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 13-02-2015


Time for some fun. Whilst the world is going ‘Fifty Shades’ mad, I set myself the challenge of finding 50 different shades of grey airline liveries.

Well, I managed to find ten, old and new. So I present them here for your enjoyment! There are some really great liveries and many important airlines have chosen grey as their identity.

Which others can you think of? Leave a comment below!


1. American Airlines

Both old and new, American took many years to grow out of the polished grey look, and even now retains a light grey scheme.

American 767

Bradley Basin Employee ShootPatrick Summersrms275910cns2014nef



2. Spirit Airlines

Their new livery looks like a New York taxi cab, but the previous one was every shade of grey and looked great!


By Jelson25 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


3. Qatar Airways

The first operator of the Airbus A350, which wears their smart grey scheme with red titles.

Qatar A350


4. United Airlines

OK, their current (Continental) livery isn’t grey… and neither was their previous livery. But the one before THAT was definitely grey. Known as their battleship scheme, it was prolific in the 1990s.

By Solitude [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Solitude [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

5. Jet2

The UK low cost airline’s main colour scheme features a grey body and red tail, as seen on their Boeing 737s and 757s.

Jet2 757



6. Royal Jordanian

This is a very dark shade of grey, but nevertheless it’s one of the smartest airline colour schemes in my opinion.

Royal Jordanian 787



7. Royal Netherlands Air Force

So we’ve gone military here, but it’s another great grey scheme and one of the last operators of the Douglas DC-10, so worthy of inclusion!

Netherlands Air Force DC10



8. Aeroflot

The Russian national airline dumped its white and blue scheme last decade and now sports this classy grey, blue and red scheme.




9. Thomas Cook Airlines / Condor

The European leisure airline updated its livery in 2015 and I can count two shades of grey amongst the white and yellow, so it definitely counts!

By Myself (Adrian Pingstone). (My own photograph, taken with a Nikon D50 DSLR.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Adrian Pingstone

10. Northwest Airlines

I still miss this airline. Most of their colour schemes over the years featured some shades of grey, with their final livery (seen here) was about 80% grey.

By Makaristos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Makaristos [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So, which other airlines can you think of that use grey in their livery? Post a comment below.



KLM’s Boeing 787 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Africa, Airline News, Asia, Bahrain, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Middle East, Netherlands, South America, Western Europe | Posted on 12-02-2015


KLM 787-9

KLM has added some more route details for its upcoming Boeing 787 fleet, with six initial destinations.

The airline will take the stretched 787-9 model, with the first flights due to commence in October.

The routes KLM will initially fly with its Boeing 787s are:

  • Amsterdam – Abu Dhabi – Bahrain – Starts 25th October
  • Amsterdam – Cairo – Starts 30th November
  • Amsterdam – Quito – Guayaquil – Amsterdam – Starts 2nd December
  • Amsterdam – Xiamen – Starts 3rd December


I’m looking forward to seeing the plane in the smart blue colour scheme of KLM, and it will be delivered in the updated scheme which is currently being rolled out across the existing fleet.

Keep up to date with KLM and all other airlines’ Boeing 787 routes on our dedicated page here.

American Airlines Boeing 787 Routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Argentina, Asia, China, North America, South America, USA | Posted on 11-02-2015


Bradley Basin Employee Shoot Patrick Summers rms275910 cns2014nef

American Airlines is the latest US airline to take delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It has now announced the initial routes which the type will operate on.

Like most airlines, American will operate its 787s initially on domestic sectors to gain crew familiarity on the type before it embarks on long haul flying. The aircraft will be based at Dallas Ft Worth Airport and fly on the following routes:

  • Dallas Ft Worth – Chicago O’Hare – Starts 7th May
  • Dallas Ft Worth – Beijing Capital – Starts 2nd June
  • Dallas Ft Worth – Buenos Aires – Starts 4th June

AA 787 interior

Customers can start booking 787 flights beginning 14th February. American will deploy the 787 to additional markets in 2015 as it takes delivery of new aircraft.

American has placed firm orders for 42 Boeing 787 aircraft, with the right to acquire an additional 58.

You can keep track of American Airlines and all other airlines’ Boeing 787 routes on our dedicated page here.

2Excel’s Boeing 727s at Doncaster

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting Trip Reports, Spotting Videos, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 06-02-2015


2Excel Aviation now have two former FedEx Express Boeing 727s based at Doncaster Sheffield Airport in the north of England. I was on site yesterday to witness the arrival of the second, G-OSRB, recently painted in the striking red and white colours.

The company’s first aircraft, G-OSRA, was in fact the last Boeing 727 built. Both have been saved from the axe following their retirement by FedEx last year.

Now, the aircraft will be used for oil spill response duties, and also in a cargo carrying capacity.

Enjoy this video of the aircraft at Doncaster.

Two Boeing 747-400s heading to museums. It’s really that old!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Australasia, Australia, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 31-01-2015


The first Boeing 747-400 flew in February 1989 – that’s almost 26 years ago!

Although it remained in production until 2009, the early airframes in this penultimate model in the ‘jumbo jet’ line are now starting to look a little long in the tooth. Many have already been retired, scrapped, put in long-term storage, or converted to freighters as passenger carriers look to modern twin-engine long haul replacements.

Today I heard of two Boeing 747-400 examples that are earmarked for preservation in museums. This is incredible news for aircraft enthusiasts, but very scary when I remember watching footage of the first flight and it doesn’t seem that long ago!

Photo: Paul Spijkers

Photo: Paul Spijkers

First off, Qantas is to donate VH-OJA – their first 747-400, and the record-holder for the world’s longest ever commercial non-stop flight. Named the City of Canberra, the aircraft flew non-stop from London to Sydney in August 1989 in 20 hours and 9 minutes.

VH-OJA is to be donated to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) at Illawara Regional Airport, only ten minutes flying time from Sydney for public display – something that will be a sight to behold at the small regional airport. The official handover will take place on 15th March, although the positioning flight may take place earlier.

Secondly, Delta Air Lines is rumoured to have earmarked the first ever Boeing 747-400, N661US, to be preserved at the Delta Flight Museum at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport later this year once its current flying commitments are finished.

Photo: Paul Spijkers

Photo: Paul Spijkers

This particular aircraft undertook the initial flight testing during certification for the new type in 1989, prior to entering service with Northwest Airlines. It has flown in Delta colours since the airlines merged in 2008.

The Delta Flight Museum is already home to a number of retired types flown by the airline and Northwest, including a Boeing 757-200, 767-200, Douglas DC-9, part of a L1011 TriStar, and a Douglas DC-3.

Transavia gets a new look

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Netherlands, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 30-01-2015


Transavia new livery

Transavia Airlines and Transavia France have introduced a new branding and colour scheme across the company, including its aircraft livery.

It only seems a shot time since their last rebrand, but apparently it’s been ten years!

The first aircraft to wear the new, brighter look is Boeing 737-700 PH-XRX and is already flying.

Transavia new scheme

The new branding was completed by Studio Dumbar, and you can see more examples of the new look on their website. Most notably, the airline is no longer called transavia.com. It’s apparently old news to do that now.

What do you think of the new scheme? Have you see it in real life yet?



New Air Force One on its way

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 29-01-2015


"Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore" by U.S. Air Force File Photo. - http://web.archive.org/web/20070315005902/http://www.af.mil/news/airman/0104/trans21b.html, http://www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/021126-O-9999G-024.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Air_Force_One_over_Mt._Rushmore.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Air_Force_One_over_Mt._Rushmore.jpg

Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore” by U.S. Air Force File Photo

The US Government has chosen the Boeing 747-8 for its Air Force One replacement.

The aircraft, which transports the US President and other government staff on trips all over the world, is one of the most famous aircraft in the world. In the past the fleet has consisted of various Boeing 707 variants, some of which are now preserved at different museums.

Presently, two Boeing 747 VC-25s, based on the 747-200B, operate for the president in the instantly recognisable blue, white and grey scheme.

On choosing to keep with the 747 line, Air Force Secretary Deborah James said in a statement: “The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States (that) when fully missionized meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission.”

The exact number of 747-8 aircraft which makes up the Air Force order is not yet known, but some are speculating that it could signal the end of the line for the classic ‘jumbo jet’. Production has been reduced recently to 1.3 aircraft per month as orders have slowed and few airlines are opting for the type over rival twin-jets.

It would be incredibly significant if the new presidential aircraft is the final Boeing 747 built, but we’ll have to wait and see whether this happens.

Presumably the existing Air Force One VC-25s will be retired to museums in due course.

Spotting at New York JFK: Send us your tips

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, North America, USA | Posted on 27-01-2015




One of the busiest and most diverse airports in America, New York John F Kennedy is not known as one of the easiest to spot at. This is partly down to its complexity and the lack of official locations. But it can be one of the most rewarding airports if you have a good view.

Do you know JFK well? What’s your tip for getting the most out of a spotting visit?

The best tips will make it into a new guide to spotting at JFK to be posted on AirportSpotting.com. We’ll also publish any of your pictures from JFK, be it of a spotting location or of aircraft action.

Send tips by e-mail here, or leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page.

Please share this article to make sure we get the most responses possible!

Airbus A350 routes page

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 21-01-2015


A350 Routes Page

A new resource we’ve recently added to the site is a list of planned Airbus A350 XWB routes that will be operated by the many different airlines who have ordered it.

The type is now in service with Qatar Airways, and will soon start flying with airlines such as Finnair and Vietnam Airlines.

Like our extremely popular Boeing 787 routes page, our new page will constantly evolve as we hear about new planned routes, training routes, and new airlines taking delivery of the type. It will hopefully be a really useful resource for those planning to see this new aircraft in service, or even to plan a route and fly on it!

You can find the Airbus A350 routes page here: www.airportspotting.com/airbus-a350-routes

SATA rebranding as competition heats up in Azores

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, North America, Portugal, Western Europe | Posted on 20-01-2015



SATA International will be rebranded as Azores Airlines this year as it begins taking steps to secure its business as the aviation scene in the island chain heats up.

We reported last month that Ryanair is to set up a base in Ponta Delgada from April 1st, bringing low-cost flights to the Portuguese mainland and further afield for the first time. easyJet is also set to enter the Azores market.

SATA, which offers intra-island services as well as links to Portugal, Europe and North America, will begin a five year scheme to reduce its fleet size and refocus its core business to ensure it remains profitable in the face of increasing competition. Part of this will see the airline focus more on flights to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde islands, Madeira through its SATA Air Acores subsidiary, and to North America.

In 2016 the airline will also establish SATA Serviços, a ground handling company, to be based at the islands’ airports and make money from the new low-cost airlines’ flights.

Part of the airline’s woes have also come from the US Air Force’s decision to remove 500 troops from the joint civil-military airport at Lajes in the Azores. The airline relied upon the presence of the air base here and it will be felt in the local economy once they have gone.