It has been 21 years in the making, but SAS has just revealed a bold new livery for its aircraft that refreshes the current version with more depth, modernity and colour. The brand new visual identity and new design for its aircraft exterior is a refreshing take on a classic Scandinavian design. It “highlights the future of SAS, the new Airbus A350 and A320neo, the market’s most modern and fuel-efficient aircraft, which will be the first to feature the new design,” states SAS.


Gone are the red nacelles, instead a blue crown takes it place, while greys and silver adorn the aircraft, with the only splash of bright colour found in the modernised flag motif that’s adorned the fleet for decades. The singular blue band around the nacelles is iconic, with only a handful of airlines replicating this approach, but the injection os silver will reflect the surroundings, picking up the blues of the sky and darker greys of the tarmac below.


Following the new SAS brand image, cabin design and onboard concepts introduced in 2015, the new livery launched today completes the holistic brand approach to both the exterior and interior of SAS aircraft. And on the A350, this is a really stunning execution.


“The new livery design is a symbol of our future, a more sustainable and competitive future for SAS, but one that also embraces our heritage. Travelers from Scandinavia will recognize their home, while global travelers will encounter the renowned feeling of the Nordics,” says Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO at SAS.

The removal of the red nacelles reflects consumer feedback. “Customer analysis shows that travellers are proud to be part of the SAS community and that the unique blue colour, which has become SAS’ signature, together with the logo, are among the strongest elements when travellers highlight their feelings towards the SAS brand,” states SAS, but it’s important to note that Blue is the signature colour of multiple airlines, with it being one of the most common colours used within aviation. Owning this colour exclusively might prove difficult, even next door Finnair already has a very similar colour palette.


The roll-out of the new SAS livery will follow the normal maintenance program of the aircraft, meaning the existing fleet will be updated with the new livery in accordance to an already scheduled repaint process each 5-6 years. All SAS aircraft will feature the new livery by 2024.


But what do we make of it? We actually love this, after all, if you are going to own a colour, do it with style. The use of a fresher more contemporary grey fuselage, silver-grey nacelles and word mark and bold strong ‘Scandinavian’ lettering on the belly and engines make this not just contemporary, but timeless, and somehow still references the livery’s of the airlines past. This meticulous attention to detail, playful approach and considered lines could have been adopted by a carrier such as Lufthansa, and received a much better reception.

The Big Picture





Posted by:Jonny Clark

4 replies on “SAS reveal exciting new livery, going against the grain of some of its counterparts

  1. The only part of the livery that truly excited me was the bands of the flags. I thought that was a modern and clever way to depict the Scandinavian ownership of the carrier.

    The rest is just pure trend. Billboard names ( seen it in the 80’s), tails á la Qantas ( it was original when Qantas introduced that iconic look, but lately with Iberia, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Rouge, Smerican, etc it’s all very predictable and unsurprising.

    I’m still waiting for a SAS livery to surpass the originality of the 80’s.

  2. I’m tired of billboard lettering on planes. But then I’ve never been a fan of the current SAS livery, which incorporates the red and white of the Danish flag, the red, white and blue of the Norwegian flag, but lacks the yellow of the Swedish flag. It always has seemed to me that Sweden was left out by the team that designed the livery.

  3. Well my critical side comes out again unfortunately. To me the design is a mediocre okay but nothing to jump over hurdles for. The silver SAS looks good but I’m saddened to see they left out the primary colours of the three Scandinavian countries. If they incorporated these colours subtly into the design somewhere, they would’ve pulled off a smart looking livery, but leaving these out in my estimation is a bad mistake. It also makes SAS look like the twin brother of Lufthansa. So in a word…disappointing!

  4. I agree with all responses so far. Its a bit disappointing and very pedestrian.

    However, I too, like the military ribbon of the Scandinavia flags. Designers have been the most innovative/effective in re-inventing this feature on aircraft (from the 1980’s forward stripes, to the 2000’s bathroom tiles)

    To make this pop, it would have been better to really focus on the blue to make it stand out. I find that the colour is muted and just looks dull. Looks at how colour can influence a design…,Air Canada’s former glacier blue, KLM’s intense sky blue, and Korean Air’s Robins egg blue.

    To be honest, as was mentioned before, it looks very similar to Lufthansa’s new livery.

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