27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

By Attila Nagy on at

There was a time when passenger aeroplanes wore more sophisticated dress then nowadays, when airlines try to stand out from the crowd by applying huge images, harsh tones, and giant letters to their fleets, often covering all the fuselage of the aircraft.

If we look back in time, we find elegant typography, minimalistic paint jobs, low-key colours, simple lines and dynamic curves, streamlined lightning bolts, remarkable yet discreet company or brand logos. The following selection of photos takes you back to the golden age of airliner liveries.

The second Concorde in factory livery, at the British Aircraft Corporation’s airfield at Filton, Bristol, 1971

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Victor Drees/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


A Cubana airliner (Bristol Britannia 318) at Jose Marti International Airport, Havana, Cuba, 1971

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Beverley Reed/AP


Bulgarian Airlines Tu-134A in hangar, c1970.

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo source: CPCP - Братерство. Мистецтво, Київ, 1972.


An Alaska Airlines DC-3 on sea ice at Tigvariak Island, Alaska, 1949

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren/NOAA Corps.


Hungarian Airlines (Malév) TU-154 B-2 at Paris Orly International Airport, 1989

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Kornél Umann/Fortepan


A KLM McDonnell Douglas DC-8 (and an Aeroflot Il-18 on the left), 1970

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Éva Romák/Fortepan


Aerolineas Argentinas Boeing 737, 1968

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Éva Romák/Fortepan


This Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-114 looks gorgeous even in black and white (1961)

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Fortepan


Malév Bombardier Q400 in a 65th anniversary painting (2011)

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Malév


...and the same paint scheme on an Il-18, from 1972

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Lars Söderström/Wikimedia Commons


A Cubana de Aviación Douglas DC-3 , 1965

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo source: Flieger-Jahrbuch 1965, Transpress Web Verlag für Verkehrswesen, Berlin


Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727, c1970

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Tenneco BAC 1-11, c1970

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


United Airlines Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, c1980

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Pan Am Boeing 747SP, c1978

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Air Canada Boeing 727, c1974

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 737, c1980

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Aerovias Guest Lockheed L-1049G “Super Constellation”, c1955

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Lufthansa Lockheed L-1649A “Super Star” Constellation, c1958

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Lufthansa


British Midland Douglas DC-9, c1979

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Eastern Douglas DC-10, c1989

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-86

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Delta Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-11, 1997

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


Lufthansa Douglas DC-10, c1980

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: SDASM


American Overseas Airlines Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, c1949

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Hungarian Airlines (Malév) Lisunov Li-2 HA-LIX from the Fifties restored to airworthy condition in 2001

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Air Atlantique Douglas DC-6AC, c1987

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Ken Fielding/Wikimedia Commons


Martin’s Air Charter Douglas DC-3, c1958

27 Stylish Airliner Liveries From The Past

Photo: Ken Fielding/Wikimedia Commons


Top photo: Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 (SDASM)


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