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The 16 coolest airline paint jobs in the world

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 5 days ago Benjamin Zhang

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 © Provided by Business Insider Inc Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400

As airlines and aeroplanes have evolved, so have their "liveries" -- the exterior designs, including paint colours and logos, on the aircraft.

As planes crisscross the globe, their exterior graphics not only represent the companies that operate them but in many instances also serve as visual ambassadors for their respective homelands.

A great airline livery gives onlookers a taste of a carrier's values or its culture's ethos in an attractive and effective colour scheme.

Airlines like Southwest, Spirit, and American have updated their liveries in recent years, with mixed results.

Others have hit home runs. Here's a selection of 16 airline exterior designs that look simply amazing.

16. WOW Air. Since its founding in 2014, WOW Air has made headlines for its low prices. However, the Icelandic ultra low-cost carrier's bright fuchsia paint job has proven to be equally attention grabbing.

a plane flying in the sky © Provided by Business Insider Inc

15. British Airways: With a waving Union Jack adorning the tail, British Airways delivers a modern take on traditional British elegance.

a large air plane on a runway © Provided by Business Insider Inc

14. Malaysia Airlines: Even though the A380's future in the airline's fleet remains uncertain, the plane's blue and white livery is unquestionably beautiful.

a airplane that is flying in the sky © Provided by Business Insider Inc

13. Etihad. Over the past decade, the Etihad has become one global aviation powerhouse and one of the Persian Gulf's trio mega-carriers. The Abu Dhabi-based airline's sandy paint scheme features multi-coloured geometric shapes representing the shift desert dunes surround the emirate.

a plane flying over a body of water © Provided by Business Insider Inc

12. China Southern Airlines: Based out its hub in the city of Guangzhou, China Southern is the country's largest airline. Its elegant exterior design features a combination of multiple hues of blue with its tail dominated by a brilliant red kapok flower.

a large passenger jet sitting on an airport runway © Provided by Business Insider Inc

11. Virgin Atlantic Airways: As with all Virgin Group companies, Virgin Atlantic carries Richard Branson's signature corporate logo. Even though it's been around in various iterations for a couple of decades now, the design still looks as modern and stylish as it did on the day it debuted.

a large air plane on a runway at an airport © Provided by Business Insider Inc

10. La Compagnie: The trendy upstart airline may be all about delivering luxury on a budget, but the Parisian carrier's blue-and-black paint scheme is stylish at any price point.

a large air plane on a runway at an airport © Provided by Business Insider Inc

9. Swiss International Airlines: Swiss International's white-and-red design is pure understated style.

a airplane that is flying in the air © Provided by Business Insider Inc

8.Fiji Airways: The recently re-branded Air Pacific is the national airline of Fiji. Its tribal-esque exterior is evocative of the island's rich native culture.

a large passenger jet sitting on an airport runway © Provided by Business Insider Inc

7. All Nippon Airways (ANA): Japan's ANA painted a few of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners with Star Wars themed liveries to coincide with the release of the latest films in the franchise. One of the most famous is a 787-9 painted to look like R2D2.

a large commercial airplane sitting on the tarmac of an airport runway © Provided by Business Insider Inc

And this Boeing 777-300ER in BB-8 livery.

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway © Provided by Business Insider Inc

6. Air Seychelles: Air Seychelles is the national airline for the eponymous small island nation situated off the coast of Africa. Its stunning livery consists of a pair of 'fairy terns' flowing amid a sea of tropical colours.

a large air plane on a runway at an airport © Provided by Business Insider Inc

5. Kulula: This South African low-cost carrier has built quite a reputation for interesting liveries, but its best effort so far is the 'Flying 101' design that doubles as a teaching tool for anyone interested in the different parts of an airliner.

a airplane that is sitting on a runway at an airport © Provided by Business Insider Inc

Here's the view from the other side.

a airplane that is sitting on a runway at an airport © Provided by Business Insider Inc

4. Air New Zealand: The airline's new white and black livery, dominated by New Zealand's silver fern symbol and the Maori Koru logo on the tail, is a pleasure to look at.

a large air plane on a runway at an airport © Provided by Business Insider Inc

Or this Hobbit-themed design that promotes the movies filmed in the country.

a plane flying in the sky © Provided by Business Insider Inc 6

And as the 'Official Airline of Middle Earth,' it's only fitting that the fearsome dragon Smaug adorns the sides of some of Air New Zealand's planes.

a airplane that is sitting on a runway at an airport © Provided by Business Insider Inc

3. Hawaiian Airlines: More than four decades after its debut, Hawaiian's trademark Pualani (Flower of the Sky) logo is still one of the most beautiful and distinctive in the business.

a plane flying over a body of water with a mountain in the background © Provided by Business Insider Inc

2. Icelandair: Icelandair has long been a proponent of its homeland's natural beauty. Which is why the airline painted one of its Boeing 757s with stunning images of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.

a large passenger jet flying through the air on a runway at an airport © Provided by Business Insider Inc

To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the airline decorated another 757 with a livery depicting the Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland.

a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky © Provided by Business Insider Inc

1. WestJet: The winner is WestJet! Over the past of years, the Canadian low-cost carrier has painted a couple of its Boeing 737-800 jets with Disney-themed paint jobs featuring Sorcerer Mickey and ...

a large air plane on a runway at an airport © Provided by Business Insider Inc

... the characters from Frozen.

a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky © Provided by Business Insider Inc

Pictures: Travel experiences that need to stop right now

What not to do on your next trip: <p>In our pursuit for exciting and enriching experiences we can sometimes unknowingly step beyond the boundaries of ethical tourism. Some of the most popular activities around the world can actually be detrimental to the environment, animals and even the local people. Of course, how we behave is down to personal choice and being a responsible tourist is a very complex issue, so here's a starting point to helping you travel responsibly. </p> The travel experiences that need to stop right now

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