British Airways have now got their first painted Airbus A380. This does herald the start of a new era for BA and sits with it’s previous few years of updating its fleet. Whilst eyes are keenly fixed on what the experience will be aboard the legacy carrier’s latest new toy, we are keenly looking at the exterior.
Its freshly painted frame has just been wheeled out of the hangar in Hamburg, Germany. When we look at painting a fairly difficult canvas such as the tall, squat and wide frame of the A380, there are many challenges. First and foremost, the proportions don’t fit with other aircraft currently flying, therefore it is easy for a paint scheme to sit uneasy with a viewer’s eye. so whatever livery treatment is done, it needs to be carefully adapted to feel as if it is a seamless and effortless paint scheme whilst also being sympathetic to the shape of the airframe.
Have BA mastered it? In our opinion, yes. We are actually pleasantly surprised. The proportions are well balanced, the logotype seems well placed in between the decks and the tail is very striking. We can’t wait to see it in reality. The tail fin includes 10,000 dots, to create the gradient effect on the ribbons of the Union Flag, which had to be applied in a very time-consuming manner using a stencil. Our only comment is that the white fuselage portion seems a little top heavy, and the blue belly could have been raised, even by just a few inches to form a considered and more balanced keel line (you’ll notice on the 747, the keel-line sits on the upper edge of the wing fairing, yet on the A380 it sits below it slightly).
Here is a shot of the 747, so as to compare, you’ll notice the upper deck on the 747 seems to fit the logo shape perfectly, whereas on the A380, it floats a little along the fuselage. The A380 will be rolled out onto its Hong Kong and Los Angeles routes later this year.