Adweek Commentary: Why Some Airlines Bring Back Classic Paint Jobs Decades After They Vanish From the Skies — by Robert Klara

That might sound like PR speak, but the CEO was explaining the emotional impact these throwback styles can have on the traveling public.

“In a highly commoditized marketplace, it’s difficult to find differentiation,” Landor’s chairman and global creative officer Peter Knapp said. “The one thing that the legacy airlines have over the aggressive competition of the low-cost carriers is history. BA celebrating their 100-year anniversary is an explicit signal of the value of their experience. In effect, they are producing their own timeline in the sky, via these retro liveries, which says, ‘Trust us, we’ve been doing this for years.’”

Indeed, British Airways is only the latest legacy carrier to act on the value of that kind of messaging. In 1997, Air Canada marked its 60th anniversary by repainting one of its Airbus A319s in the old dress of Trans-Canada Airlines, the name of the carrier until 1965. In 2007, Alaska Airlines commemorated its 75th with its Starliner livery, a modified version of the color scheme developed for its DC-3 planes at the end of World War II.


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