Brussels Airlines’ Peculiar New Livery

December 2, 2021

As Graham Chapman used to say: What’s all this then? The new Brussels Airlines livery is out, and I’m seeing spots, dots, speckles and freckles.

Not that the prior Brussels — or is it Bubbles? — paintjob was anything grand, but this one is just depressing. The typeface is attractive, and there’s no reason to dislike the lowercase “b,” as other reviewers seem to. The rest of it, though. Doubtless the conceivers of this gibberish see their work as hip and clever. What the rest of us see is meaningless and boring.

“Peculiar,” I described it in the header. It’s that, and more; which is to say less. Behold the modern livery in perhaps its inevitable culmination: a palette of random nothingness.

Brussels Airlines was formed in 2005 after the demise of Sabena, which had been the Belgian flag carrier since 1923. (Try Googling up photos of some old Sabena 747-200s for an idea of what an a livery should look like.) Today it operates around 40 aircraft to nearly a hundred cities throughout Europe, Africa, and North America.

The company is unusual in that it calls itself after a city rather than a country, region, or state. Offhand I can think of maybe ten other airlines, past and present, that did the same thing. How many can you name?


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24 Responses to “Brussels Airlines’ Peculiar New Livery”
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  1. Guillaume de Syon says:

    I can think of a few, but all are defunct:

    Air Toulouse (operated a Caravelle)
    Balair (Swissair’s charter wing, but a bona fide early airline named after Basel)
    Luxair (postage stamp state, but also city)
    Le Point Mulhouse (aka Mulhausen to Alsation speakers)an early pioneer in transatlantic charters, brought down by Air France &Co
    Miami Air (went bust, used to do charters with 738s)

    OK, quiet, now…

  2. Paul says:

    Another current airline with a city name is flydubai

  3. Rafael says:

    Another nice example is Viação Aérea São Paulo S/A, better known as VASP (1933-2005).



  4. Thomas says:

    On the subject of airlines named after cities: There used to be an airline called NYRBA (New York, Rio, and Buenos Aires Line). Operated flying boats in the 1920s. Got taken over by their competitor Pan Am. Juan Trippe and friends prevented NYRBA from getting any US Government air mail contracts. Without a government subsidy, NYRBA went bust and Pan Am took over all their assets.

  5. AngryFlier says:

    Brussels Airlines new livery looks more appropriate as eveningwear for a clown than as an airline livery. It’s a joke, yet I’m not laughing. Having grown up admiring beautiful liveries from the likes of United (blue), TWA, AA, PanAm, Western, PSA, Eastern and Allegheny, this thing is atrocious.

    I don’t like the generic white aircraft with the tail swoosh thing, but this brings hideous to a whole new level. If I were to fly them again (and I did several years ago), having to hop aboard this ugliness would give me some pause. What a mess.

  6. Carlos Si says:

    Gee, are they trying to be Croatia Airlines?

  7. Wilson says:

    Their planes need dashes, too. That way they could make Morse Code. Right there on the outside of the plane. You know, like SOS or something. Perhaps that is is where they are going with this. The suppressor doesn’t mention this, of course. Instead, distraction tactics.

    Someday, ideally, the manufacturers will get real and engineer into the various surfaces of their planes super high tech super thin film led advertising and stuff, all controlled by AI! It’s coming. First we to need get through the Morse Code phase. Don’t let the super-Luddites distract you!

  8. Kozmo says:

    haha! I think you mean Terry Jones, tho, not Graham Chapman. Jones had his Inspector Harry “Snapper” Organs character going “What’s all this, then?” frequently. But now that I think Python, I bet Chapman played inspectors and policemen, too, during the run of the show and probably also parroted that copper cliche.

  9. George A Heymont says:

    Maybe old styles are coming back into fashion. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

  10. Mike M says:

    It’s still a GMST: Generic Meaningless Spotted Thing. Perhaps the graphic designers finally took up your advice on livery and avoided swooshes?

    What I’d like to see is a minimalistic design: simply the name of the airline on the body and tail, and perhaps a national flag on the tail if the airline is closely associated with a country, such as Air France, KLM, or American. Not a stylized flag, either, like the piano keys on American’s latest design; just a simple flag. Such a livery would be perfectly functional and, when well executed, beautiful. Sadly the designers all seem steeped in the notion that they must slap globs of paint all over their planes, in a random patern that looks the same as everyone else’s design.

  11. Gimlet Winglet says:

    First paint job I’ve seen where they painted the top of the fuselage (not counting full-body paint jobs). How long before their call sign is zitface? “ATC, this is zitface-232, request…”

    Obviously, do not like.

  12. Tom says:

    Croatia’s cost of arms is made of red and white squares so there is a meaning to their livery. These Brussels dots are just plain meaningless.

  13. Lurk says:

    Now we sit back and wait for others in the fleet to have green fins, white fins and, of course, yellow fins. 🙂

  14. Patrick says:

    The ones I thought of, without consulting the Intergoogle…

    New York Air, Bangkok Airways, Reno Air, Xiamen Air, Vladivostok Air, AirBerlin, Bar Harbor Airlines, Air Macau, Singapore Airlines (a country too, yes).

    Someone brought up Provincetown-Boston Airlines (PBA). We like that one because it uses two cities.

  15. Glenn Baxter says:

    Reno Air

  16. David Sewell says:

    It is an interesting illustration of how meaningless comes into the world. BA concurrently changed their overall corporate logo to these same 9 meaningless dots—from the previous lowercase “b” of tilted-away dots (that could perhaps be seen to evoke a runway as well). Anyway, so the translation/”evolution” of that “b” to just dots is… Right, now, it’s just seemingly randomly sized dots devoid of any meaning or feeling.

  17. Matt D says:

    Three others I can add:

    Reno Air
    Dan-Air LONDON
    Air Atlanta

    Does Midway count? Named after an airport.

  18. Matt D says:

    Off topic but nowhere else to remind you: Tomorrow, Sat Dec 4th, is the 30th anniversary of Pan Am’s shutdown. I trust you will have something for that?

  19. Tom Bell says:

    It looks kind of like a hastily done version of the Ishihara color vision test plates, except without the hidden numbers and symbols.

    To answer the question in the second paragraph, the only ones I can think of that haven’t been mentioned by Avron would be:

    Air Berlin
    New York Air
    PBA (Provincetown Boston Airlines)
    VASP (which I think stood for Viacao Aerea Sao Paulo, or something like that — I don’t speak Portuguese)

  20. Avron says:

    Only considering currently operating airlines. These are all in Asia:

    Bangkok Airways
    Hong Kong Airlines
    Hong Kong Express
    Air Macau
    Singapore Airlines (contestable)
    Beijing Capital Airlines
    Chongqing Airlines
    Shenzhen Airlines
    Chengdu Airlines
    Xiamen Air
    Air Guilin
    Cebu Pacific (see above, Singapore Airlines)

    Also quite a few named after islands, provinces, etc.

  21. James says:

    Reminds me of the Go livery from the late 90s / early 2000s just without the colour variation.

  22. Eric says:

    I told my friend I was having a vision problem.

    “I see spots” I said.

    “Have you seen a Doctor?” he asked.

    “No…just spots.” I replied.

    (I’ll throw myself out.)