Airline sponsorship deals around the Star Wars franchise are a big deal these days. I have shot a variety of them over time. The United Rise of Skywalker jet recently got repainted back in to standard United colors. Alaska Airlines has signed a new deal associated with the Disney park attraction and they unveiled the jet after it had been painted in Spokane. I missed its initial visits and then got it one weekend but only in some pretty dingy conditions.
Then I got a second chance at both the arrival and departure one morning when the weather was far more favorable. The airframe is mainly black with a variety of graphics across it. There is a graphic of a porg in a location that is designed to look like a front window. They are also on the winglets. I find that creature annoying so don’t have much interest. However, the addition of Tie Fighters and the Millennium Falcon are better from my perspective. I guess that shows my age.
The creation of the airline alliances has allowed airlines to serve a wider range of routes than they could sustain themselves. Part of their obligation as a member of the alliance is to have some of their aircraft painted in alliance colors. Sadly, these liveries are not that exciting but I suppose it is some variety. I was quite surprised to get an Air France 777-300ER in SkyTeam colors vacating the runway at the same time a United 777-200ER in Star Alliance colors was taxiing the opposite direction. I felt like the scene for a stand off but no such thing occurred.
Early morning at Washington National and I was waiting for my flight home after a work trip to DC. As I sat at the gate, a JetBlue aircraft was coming up from the south end of the field. It was painted in a red scheme representative of the fire department of NY. They have a few different special liveries on their jets but a bright red one is quite the opposite of their normal look. Sadly, the light was a bit dull but I wasn’t passing up the opportunity to get a shot, even if it was through the terminal windows.
The arrival of this Alaska 737 on the flight line at Renton got a lot of attention from the locals. A special livery is always going to be of interest but this one is better than the average. The dark blue combined with the orcas is a really cool look. I first saw the jet while it was on the flight line at Renton ahead of a first flight. I wasn’t able to get it as it left Renton but I was able to catch its arrival at BFI. After a few test flights, it has now been delivered to Alaska so now I just have to hope I can catch it in better conditions.
Sun Country changed their livery design a while back going with an orange based scheme known as the pumpkin livery. I hadn’t shot one before – I’ve got their older colors and also the Transavia hybrid on leased jets – but it was due in shortly before the National A330 I had gone out for so I was happy to get the bonus. It’s a garish livery, for sure, but it makes a change from the steady stream of stuff we see normally.
I shot an XOJet Citation X at Paine Field over the holidays. The light was at a nice low angle since it was not long after the shortest day and it picked out details on the airframe nicely. I was surprised to see that the jet was in a grey paint finish. I have shot a few XOJet Citation Xs over the years. Some of the earlier ones were in a pretty standard looking livery, not unlike NetJets.
I then started to see them in an all white paint finish. This was definitely not too exciting and had the look of someone that was ready to save money when they sold their jets without the need to repaint them. The new scheme is not much better but at least it looks slightly more deliberate than a plane you couldn’t decide what to paint it. I wonder if this is a new standard for them or just an oddball?
When a new Star Wars movie is released, it seems to be the thing to arrange a tie in with an airline and have them paint jets in special Star Wars themed liveries. ANA was a part of this and I have shot a variety of their special paint scheme jets which you can see here and here. For the most recent movie, The Rise of Skywalker, United got in on the game and painted a 737 in a black livery with special marking including one side with a blue lightsaber and one with a red. I had not seen the jet before. It has been to SeaTac a few times but never when I could get there (or when it was daylight). Finally it showed up one evening when the weather was great so nice light. Only one side to see of course but here it is!
Japan Air Lines has been taking delivery of a bunch of Airbus A350s recently. I was interested to see them at Haneda where they seem to be based as opposed to Narita. Interestingly, for a plane with substantial range, they are being used from a lot of short sectors at the moment. On the station platforms, they had some posters about a special A350 that was celebrating the 20th anniversary of a Japanese boyband, Arashi.
Fortunately, this jet was being used on internal flights and it was due back in to Haneda when I was there. With the crummy weather, the JAL terminal roof top viewing deck was fine for photos in the afternoon since, with no sun, there was no backlighting. The A350 came in to view and stopped in a cloud of spray from reverse thrust and then taxied back and parked right under me. Plenty of opportunities to get some shots of it.
I spent a little time at Haneda on a recent trip to Tokyo. It was not an ideal day for photography but it had its possibilities. One thing that really surprised me was that I seemed to see a bunch of planes with special paint schemes. I don’t know whether Japanese airlines just have a lot of specials or whether Haneda is the place that they all come but I saw a lot. One of them was from China too. Here are some shots of the specials from that day excluding one that will have its own post.
The collapse of Thomas Cook meant that the German subsidiary, Condor, has gone it alone. The fleet had a tail marking that reflected the parent company but, with their demise, they are now adopting a tail design that is back to their own branding. I saw one of the new tails on this 767 arriving at SeaTac shortly before a BA 777 that I was waiting for because I was picking up the skipper. Below is what it used to look like (albeit in nicer light).