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Why Are The Airplanes Usually Painted White?

Why Are The Airplanes Usually Painted White?

Nearly half the passenger airplanes flying these days are leased by the airlines from big plane leasing companies. it’s easier and cheaper to lease a customary white plane then simply modification its logos than repainting the complete plane. few other reason are listed below.

  • Decorative painting are expensive
    Cost can run anywhere from $50K to $200K per plane. The 2-3 weeks of time required for such paint jobs will cause loss of revenue for that period.
  • More paint= More weight= More fuel = More operating costs
    The paint on a fully painted 747 will weigh more than 250 kgs, while a polished skin will just weigh 25 kgs. EasyJet Airlines was able to reduce 2% of their operating costs by just repainting their planes with new thinner aerodynamic paints. When your annual fuel bill is $1.2 billion USD, then that 2% can mean a savings of $22.4 million USD. Suddenly a coating becomes interesting, doesn’t it?
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  • Colorful Airplanes have low resale value.
    Painting an aircraft in a color other than white can negatively affect its resale value as the buyer will have to repaint the plane which will further add more weight to the plane.The airliners which purchase brand new planes instead of leasing are almost always purchasing by using huge long term loans. This is a huge investment in a competitive market. They may themselves want to sell or lease their planes if things don’t go well.

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  • White has some significant thermal advantages over color.
    A white object reflects all wavelengths of light, so the light is not converted into heat, while a colored object absorbs more wavelengths of light and converts them into heat, so the object gets warm.
  • White is a nice, neutral base color.
    Artists typically start out with a white canvas, or white paper – it’s a color associated with “blank” and “clean”. Starting with a white base coat allows the airline’s marketing department to paint whatever livery they want on their flying billboards.

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  • White doesn’t fade.
    An average airliner will have several paint jobs during its service life, but the longer you can go between having to repaint the plane the better, and if you don’t have to worry about the paint fading and looking old for a good long while you can stretch the time between paint jobs without having your passengers start making snide comments about your fleet of flying hoopties.All colored paints will eventually fade from exposure to sun and the elements, particularly exposure to the sun at 30,000 feet, where substantially more UV radiation is hitting the paint and accelerating the fading process.White looks better and when it gets old and dull, it still looks good compared to a dark colored plane. Dark colors fade faster, dull, and when paint flakes off it just looks terrible.

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  • Good visibility
  • One good reason for a white coat, is visibility. Not being able to see it in the sky, but visibility of corrosion, cracks, leaking oil and suchlike on the ground. White shows up this sort of thing best, so from a safety standpoint, white is a no-brainer.
    In the event of an airplane crash, white color can be easily spotted on both water and land. It is also easy to spot a white plane in the dark.

Information Courtesy : Kshitij Salgunan by Quora


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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)