Lothansa? The challenge of having similar tail fins

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It seems the week before Christmas brought a challenge from LOT Polish Airlines to Lufthansa regarding the German flag carrier’s somewhat contentious new livery. The Polish carrier draws issue with the fact Lufthansa’s reimagined tail fin has an uncanny resemblance to theirs.

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While we agree there are similarities, to our our trained eye, they are fairly distinct, with LOT’s crane logo with forward swept wings in a V shape, and Lufthansa’s singular swept-back tail fin being clearly different, but we are based in the airline industry, and that’s seen from a close up. Further away, in an airport environment, where fuselages can be obstructed from view, at a quick glance we can see the two could get confused easily. But it’s not the only case of similar tails…

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Both Icelandair and Oman Air have similar logos, but each have different meanings, Oman Air’s representing a plume of incense smoke while Icelandair’s represents ‘golden wings’

It’s a tail fin, so what? Well, tail fins are a great subconscious calling card, reminding passengers that the airline flies to a certain destination. At some point most people might have gone “Oh, I didn’t know Airline X flew here” when transiting through an airport. It’s that thought process that LOT is trying to protect, especially when their marketing budget is most likely dwarfed by the German behemoth.

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So who wins out of these two carriers battling for their right to wear their livery with pride? In our opinion, neither. Liveries and tail fins in particular should be seen as blank canvases, an opportunity to being a brand to life in art form. Yet so many carriers opt for the same approach. Logo on block colour, with typeface across the fuselage.

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Lucky Air in China has a strikingly similar design to BA on their tail-fin

The most common colour in aviation designs seems to be blue, (followed by red) and the most common airline logo motif represents flight, normally in the form of wings or birds. Because of that there will always be a bit of a brand blend across many airlines.

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Back in 2016, we showcased how Qantas’ new livery in Asian airports could easily be mistaken as Cathay Dragon or Turkish, because of the similarity in graphic on the tail.

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Let’s not forget Tarom who also join the Lufthansa / LOT livery pool, and all with similar European destinations 

2020 is a new decade, a new opportunity for airlines to fight the ordinary and stand out from the crowd. We challenge carriers to think differently, bring exciting new designs to their aircraft and break away from the norm. We look forward to seeing the latest livery reveals in the new year, hopefully adding a splash of colour and originality back to the skies.

 

2 comments

  1. OnWingsofSaffron

    The Polish state has political issues with Germany, and I believe that’s behind the spat. Quite honestly, nobody would mistakenly book a flight from Warsaw to Frankfurt on Lufthansa instead of on LOT because of confusing the stylised navy and white crane in a circle…? And in the deplorable case of a mix-up, the duped flight guest would be consoled that his/her milage would apply for the next flight, seeing both are members of Star Alliance.
    That said, I still think it is a crying shame that Lufthansa opted for that nondescript CEO look instead of reactivating it’s joyous (and patented) yellow!

  2. Kenneth

    I think removing the yellow from Lufthansa’s tails was a HUGE mistake. Particularly since the airline obviously couldn’t bring themselves to completely give up the iconic color; as evidenced by the little yellow square placed next to each boarding door! (“Remember, dear passenger, when this color identified our airline?”)

    If Lufthansa truly wanted the yellow gone, they should have gotten rid of it ENTIRELY. But since they apparently want the color to remain a part of their corporate identity, there should be yellow on the planes’ tails. (What other airlines fail to display the company colors on their aircraft?)

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