Firstly, did you know when planes come off the assembly line at the factory, they’re green.
There are many reasons why most Airplanes are painted white and all of them are quite simple and practical..
- Heat – White reflects heat away from the exterior of the airplane, reduces ambient temperature inside the cabin, reduces the amount of air conditioning.
- Lease – Most airline companies don’t own their own planes, they take them on lease from airplane leasing companies. And the planes they hire are not allowed to be painted. Why you ask? Its simple! White planes have more resale value than the painted ones.
- Resale – White oozes crisp minimalism and is very handy if the airline needs to sell the aircraft in a hurry. The new owner doesn’t have to repaint the whole aircraft, just the logo and company name – very economical.
- Visibility – Corrosion, cracks, leaking oil can be easily spotted by the ground staff when the airplanes are painted white. Also can’t spot bird poop 😉
- Long time to paint – A full body paint job on an aircraft take weeks to complete, the Airline cant afford to incur a loss just for the damn paint to dry.
- Cost – Painting the full body can cost anywhere between $50k-$200K. Spending such a hefty amount even before the plane takes off is waste of money.
- Paint adds extra weight – When a plane is painted with color, it adds an additional weight to the plane. More weight means more consumption of fuel. Its simple math, painting the full body of a Boeing 747 can add upto 250kgs whereas a little paint job only adds upto 25kgs. American Airlines saves more than $2 MILLION a year in fuel costs because their airplanes are painted white.
- Longevity – White doesn’t fade away as easily as other colors do and easy to clean, maintain.
This amazing video by Nat Geo shows a Boeing 747 being painted.
Despite these reasons, there are a few airlines who love color and have awesome paint jobs on their airplanes.
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