Star Alliance Carrier, Air New Zealand which is very popular in the social media for its cheeky ads and smart campaigns recently gave a sneak peek at the world’s largest commercially operated aircraft to be painted completely black.
The airline has gotten Boeing to paint its fifth B777-300ER in all black livery dedicated to the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, the aircraft which is expected to be delivered to Air New Zealand in late January following the completion of its interior fit out and will make its way to Auckland, Los Angeles, London Heathrow and Melbourne airports during 2012.
Highlighting its long standing sponsorship of the All Blacks who also are the current World Champions, the airline got Kieran Read and Andy Ellis to Boeing hangar facility in Seattle for a special ceremony for the aircraft’s unveiling to world. As per Boeing, painting the aircraft took just over a week, two days longer than it normally takes to paint a 777 aircraft. 185 gallons (700 liters) of chrome-free primer and paint was used and involved a total of 14 painters working in shifts 24 hours a day. Prepping and painting the aircraft entirely black took one and a half days, followed by a further five days for the intricate detail of the silver fern overlaid on it and the Koru symbol. Remaining time was spent on the finishing touches, Boeing has termed this as one of the most challenging paint jobs in it’s history.
The all black color scheme and silver fern are a key part of both New Zealand’s and the All Blacks’ identity has already been painted on a couple of A320’s (ZK-OAB and ZK-OJR) and they entered into service earlier this year, By mid next year Air New Zealand will have six aircraft featuring the all black livery including two Airbus A320s and three Beech 1900D turbo-props. Contrary to popular belief, the black paint won’t cause the aircraft to heat up a great deal. In fact, the more than 330 individual TV screens inside the aircraft create more additional heat than the all black paint job.
Personally I find the livery amazing and a great masterpiece, hats off to the technicians who made this happen with all the long hours put in by them and am really looking forward to have a chance to fly the bird soon.
Check out the ‘Behind the Scenes’ video here: