The process might have taken 7 months but after 1,415 submitted ideas were whittled down to one, a single A320 took 14 days out of its schedule to be painted up as the winning livery of the ‘Belgian Icon’ contest. Named ‘Aerosmurf’, this unique design by Italian Marta Mascellani, was chosen by the public from two finalists and will represent Belgium on a Brussels Airlines A320 flying on its short haul routes.
The aircraft, which started flying on Sunday, is Brussels Airlines’ fifth iconic plane and joins the ranks of Rackham, Red Devils and Magritte. The Smurfs, who celebrate their 60th birthday this year, are one of Belgium’s most loved and iconic comic characters (apart from Tintin) and will act as another ambassador for the carrier.
“To design our fifth Belgian Icon, we wanted to ask the public who they wish to see flying through the skies as an ambassador for Belgium. That’s why we launched a contest last year to which everyone with a heart for Belgium, every enthusiast and every designer could participate by sending in their idea or plane design. And we received an overwhelming amount of ideas, from fries to the saxophone,” said Tanguy Cartuyvels, VP Marketing at Brussels Airlines.
The design has taken advantage of the entire fuselage, which acts as a comic book in its own right. The designers of studio Peyo adapted Marta’s design to fit the round fuselage of an aircraft. The result is a plane with 19 smurfs, passengers as well as crew, interacting with each other. In the cockpit we find Smurfette as the captain and Papa Smurf as co-pilot.
The design contains Belgian details, representing the many other ideas that were submitted during the contest. On the left hand side Harmony Smurf is playing the Belgian national anthem on the saxophone – a Belgian invention – together with another smurf who is playing the harmonica, referring to the famous Belgian musician Toots Thielemans. On the crew smurf’s trolley we find a miniature Atomium.
On the right side of the plane a crew smurf is serving Belgian fries and waffles to the smurf passengers. Aerosmurf also has two secret passengers, Gargamel and Azrael, trying to escape through a hatch in the belly of the plane. A treat for plane spotters, since they are only visible during takeoff and landing.
For passengers flying with Aerosmurf the experience continues inside. Little smurf footsteps on the carpet are leading the Aerosmurf guests to their seats, while a Smurfs video and adapted boarding music complete the Smurfs experience.