16 retro aeroplane paintjobs that should make a comeback
Pacific Southwest Airlines was famous for it's 'smiling' paint job. Flyers were treated to this paint job until 1988, when the airline became part of US Airways. Prior to its merger with American Airlines, US Airways actually flew an Airbus A319 with the old PSA design.
For more than 75 years, Trans World Airlines and its iconic red and white aeroplanes were among the most recognisable in world. The airline, made famous by billionaire Howard Hughes, managed to stay aloft until 2001, when it was swallowed up American Airlines.
As for American Airlines itself, its shimmering unpainted airliners have become a common sight at airports around the world. American Airlines' venerable Massimo Vignelli 'AA' logo and corresponding paint scheme went virtually unchanged from 1967 to 2013.
Miami-based Eastern Airlines was one of the most prominent American air carriers of the 20th century. The airline and its famous 'whisperliners' shuttled fliers around the world until the company's demise in 1991. For most of 1960s, '70s and '80s, Eastern flew with a blue-on-white paint scheme, but changed it to an American Airlines-esque unpainted look for its final years of service.
Northwest Airlines' red-and-grey 'bowling shoe' paint scheme wasn't necessarily one of the prettiest of all time, but it sure was distinctive. Sadly, the airline disappeared after merging with Delta in 2008. Hopefully, the Atlanta-based carrier decides to put the design on one of its 700-plus planes for old times sake.
American Tans Air and its cool 'ATA' paint job flew to numerous locations around North and Central America. Unfortunately the airline couldn't survive the 2008 recession and went bust. Southwest Airlines purchased its remaining assets for just a few million dollars and has chosen not to revive the brand.
The United Airlines brand is alive and doing pretty well these days. After its merger with Continental half a decade ago, United took on its merger partner's reserved paint scheme. This was truly unfortunate because the airline's bright blue pre-merger design was fantastic.
Before Richard Branson and Virgin, there was Freddy Laker and Skytrain. As the rebels of British aviation, Skytrain offered cheap no-frills trans-Atlantic flights for the masses until the company went bankrupt in 1982. The airlines flag-themed logo still looks current and modern.
Inspired by Laker's business concept, Newark-based PeopleExpress offered both domestic and international low-cost service until its was bought out by Continental Airlines in 1987. A recent startup revived the PeopleExpress name from 2012-2014. It kept the original airline's signature 'faces' on its tail fin, but scrapped the red/orange look in favour of green.
Before there was British Airways, the bulk of the international flights out of Britain was handled by British Overseas Airways Corporation or BOAC. It merged with British European Airways in 1974 to form British Airways. The airlines' livery may have been scrapped but its 'speedbird' mascot remains to this day as the official callsign of British Airways flights.
British Caledonian and famous golden lion logo was once the second largest airline in Britain until it was purchased by the country biggest airline, British Airways, in 1988.
The king of colourful airline paint jobs in the 1970s was Braniff International Airways until it went bust in 1982. The Texas-based airline loved to offer its customers a variety of colourful looks in blue...
... another shade of blue...
... in red, and many more. Braniff's paint jobs were so simple and yet more memorable than most of its competitors' elaborate designs.
Although Braniff may have been the most daring, nothing tops Pan Am in cultural significance. As America's flag carrier, the airline served as the nation's de facto goodwill representative until it, too, went bust in 1991.
With the recent mergers of American Airlines and US Airways, Delta and Northwest, as well as United and Continental, there are just three major international airlines left in America.
As the once great variety of names and brands withered away, so did their iconic paint jobs.
Although some of these airlines have gone extinct, others have simply been merged into larger companies.
All of them make great candidates for a special edition "retro" paint job to remind the airlines' passengers of its heritage.
Here are a collection from America, and around the world, that we would love to see taking to the skies once again.