Bonjour Air Senegal

October 21, 2021

AIR SENEGAL is a new and expanding carrier poised to become one of the largest in the region. Based out of the new (and boringly designed) Blaise Diagne International Airport near Dakar, the carrier has opened up routes to Europe and the United States.

We haven’t had a serious West African contender since the days of Air Afrique, the pan-national collective whose green-and-white jets were a familiar sight from 1961 until 2002.* I’ve spent a lot of time in Senegal and have a fondness for the country, so at least for me the emergence of new national airline is exciting.

What someone needs to explain, however, is this clown show of a livery…

What a shame.

It’s disappointing because the colors and pattern of the Senegalese flag offer so many handsome possibilities. The constipated typeface, with its little serifs and skinny letters, is not only unattractive, but distractingly out of synch with a tail design that looks, quite literally, as if it were drawn by a child. The weirdly truncated star is an especially ugly and bizarre flourish. That they’ve splashed this design, broken star and all, onto the engine nacelles as well, only makes it worse.

The only part to like is maybe the tricolor arrow design near the cockpit. Seems they could have expanded on this motif in lieu of that dizzying amoeba.

Grade: F-minus

Middle photo courtesy of Ryan Taylor

* Air Afrique has a cameo in an old Jack Nicholson movie from the 1970s. Can you name it?

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20 Responses to “Bonjour Air Senegal”
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  1. Sineta George says:

    I’m glad you mentioned that the art/design is disappointing. I thought it was just me! The country is FULL of fabulous and extraordinary art – everywhere, from pillar to post and the most expensive acquisition the country has made is, well, underwhelming.

    It should have at least rivaled South Africa airlines.

    Anyway, I stumbled upon your blog looking for Air Senegal merchandise… looking for toy airplane for my grandson. Got any leads?


  2. Alex says:

    It would’ve been much more attractive had they just kept the engine nacelles white. The tail could use some work…less wavy, more straight lines and angles. But painting the fans white would be a huge step in the right direction.

  3. Bill says:

    Make them all white, so they can all get A+

    To heck with colors and branding! Oh to never progress…

  4. James Walley says:

    Hell of a lot better than ITA Airways…

  5. Carlos Si says:

    Lol how does this get an F- but ITA’s livery scores higher?

    Certainly the points you make are valid about the star and typeface, but it’s consistent, it’s balanced along the airplane, it’s colorful (unlike Lufthansa’s boring livery), heck, didn’t you notice the flag has been shaped into an eagle? I think it’s pretty cool.

    I give it a B.

  6. mark says:

    First world problems.

  7. Simon says:

    If this is a F-, what do you have left for real atrocities like say AR? I mean, seriously, this livery is not grand (and we’re never getting the shiny AA or AM back), but can we get some nuance? Does everything these days have to be over the top social media drama?

  8. Vijay says:

    South African Airways current is one of my favorite liveries of all. In my childhood I had a poster of one of their jets on my bedroom wall. I think it had the old Suid Afrikaanse flying sprinbok logo on it.

  9. Thomas Flynn says:

    Patrick, I so enjoy your critiques of airline liveries. So many of the liveries today lack any real creativity and cultural/national identity. The first time I saw the livery for Air Senegal I thought it was some type of funky version of a Rorschach test.

    One of my favorite liveries of an African airline was that of Air Nigeria…the flying elephant was a classic imho.

    Further to your comment about jetBlue’s naming convention…I think they are running out of “blue” monikers as now some aircraft are named using a variation of the word “mint” in recognition to their Mint service/class. Last jetBlue aircraft I was on was named, “Seize the MoMint”.

    As to the Jack Nicholson movie from the 70s…I’ll make a guess: was it The Passenger?

    Happy flying, and thank you for keeping your writing so entertaining while at the same time so immensely informative.

  10. Nick says:

    Was the Jack Nicholson movie called “The Passenger “?

  11. Kenny says:

    Usually I agree with your assessments of liveries, but this time I like the tail design. For a new carrier it’s fine. Maybe not great, but it’s distinctive and colorful and I like it.

    I don’t much care for the bland SENEGAL lettering, and I think putting the logo on the engine nacelles doesn’t work in this case. They could put something on the engines, maybe the green star, but what they chose doesn’t work at all.

  12. Tom says:

    Whatever happened to cheatlines, I wonder? This white blob look, consisting of an all-white fuselage with colors splattered on the tail, is getting so tiresome. But I think I see one small, welcome nod to the past in the third photo: The word “Casamance”…a revival of giving individual airplanes a name, a la Pan Am’s “Clipper Lindbergh”, etc.?

    • Patrick says:

      Indeed, this is a welcome touch. A number of airlines still do this, some with more panache than others. JetBlue’s plays on the word “blue” being the most irritating examples. See chapter 7 in my book.

  13. Kozmo says:

    Whoa Mama! Clownish supreme! Yuck.

  14. Paula Stevens. says:

    I’m a Brit and am not overly fond of B.As current livery but research shows that the design is apparently based on an actual historic Union flag.

    Chatham Dockyard
    One of the 1997 Project Utopia tails, also known as ‘Chatham Dockyard’ was initially applied only to the Concorde. However, it became the standard BA tail livery after phasing out all other Utopia tails.

    The design was based upon a stylized Union flag as flown by English naval commander Lord Nelson who’s fleet was based at the historic Chatham Royal Dockyard. This remains as the airline’s most current livery.

  15. Chad Henshaw says:

    Well, at least it’s better than BA’s. Every time I look at the tail I have to look up what it’s supposed to be, and then spend another 10 minutes working out how exactly it’s the union flag…

  16. Ed says:

    Hi Patrick, I’m with you on the too-organic shapes on the vertical stabilizer and engine nacelles. However, the typeface actually looks good to me and I think the colors used for the livery are great (just arranged poorly). I guess each person has a different perception. I do think they could keep all the same colors and repaint the tail and nacelles in a different pattern … sort of a minor rebrand.