Retro Liveries – Who Wore It Better

In the Middle East and North Africa, you will find some of the world’s largest airlines, but you will also find some of the world’s oldest. Retro Liveries is a way to celebrate the prestige and tradition that comes with that

Retro Liveries

Retro Liveries are a trend among airlines, painting one or more of their aircraft in older branding colors in order to shed light on the history of the Airline. 

Royal Jordanian Airlines and Qatar Airways recently joined a large number of carriers in using this marketing technique. In addition to the two newest additions, our gallery shows Egypt Air, Gulf Air, Tunis Air, Saudi Airlines and Middle East Airlines painting their aircraft in retro liveries that vary considerably in age.

Saudia B777-300 Retro Livery

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Saudi Airlines celebrated the 75th anniversary with the 75th years livery

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways, having not yet reached its 30th birthday, is a surprise addition, as newer and younger airlines usually shy away from highlighting their age. 

The dark tones of the Oryx and the lines gave the B777-300 a nice “classic” feel. Retro Liveries look very attractive on Wide Bodies

Royal Jordanian Airlines

The welcome addition of Royal Jordanian to the list comes because it had rarely ever used the space on the fuselage to market anything but its stringent brand. Save for a single A319 in One World Livery, that celebrated joining the global alliance; Royal Jordanian had always maintained its branding.

This year however, Royal Jordanian showcased two new additions to the special liveries. A Boeing B787-8 with Petra (an ancient wonder of the world in the host country, Jordan) stickered all over it, which many called lacking in taste or even poor optics. The contrast of the colors of that Livery 

However, it seems they lucked out and balanced with the introduction of an A321 in “Alia” colors, the old colors of the airlines with “Regal” claims. Aesthetically pleasing and traditional, the contrivance would have had a more impactful feel had it been on one of their Dreamliners. 

It is worth noting that the team at the helm in Royal Jordanian are the same that oversaw Gulf Air’s branding of F1 themed airplanes

Egypt Air

Why Egypt Air chose to only go back to the 1970s is unclear, with its long heritage and the “Oldest Airline in the region” claim, we would have love to see a nod to “Misr Airwork” or “Misr Egyptian Airlines.” The predecessors to the Egyptian carrier based in the regions largest population could have benefited greatly from its history that is approaching 90 years old.

A missed opportunity, surely, the end product looked like it is an airline that missed its chance to update, especially with an airline that has a considerable wide-body fleet; the Airbus A320 looks like it was stored for a couple of decades and their retrieved and started flying without visiting the hanger for a fresh coat of paint

 Gulf Air

Not many airlines have majestic falcons in their branding, fewer still have such high contrasting colors in their liveries. Red, green and gold made the Gulf Air move to retro liveries a no-brainer. Many would suggest their retro livery is better-favored than their current paint scheme. Having it on the smooth lines of the Dreamliner was another bonus

Tunis Air

The winged gazelle is a blast from the past, the bold red colors and the vintage fonts made the retro livery stand out in comparison. Another airline that was lucky to have had a history of well-themed paint schemes.

Saudi Airlines

The vibrant paint scheme did not miss its mark. On a Boeing B777-300, it impresses because it reflects positively on the 75 year history of the operator. The leadership team did well on this one, but their other specially themed airplane will live in infamy as the rarest attempt to have used another B777 to show faces of the countries leaders

Middle East Airlines

Yet another legacy that is exemplified by old themes that worked in the day but are still timeless. The “Cedar” tree is striking in contrast, though straight forward and clean cut. A success in choice was made here


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