Airplanes: verify top 06 reasons why planes are painted in white?

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If you have ever been to an airport before, you must have noticed that most of the airplanes are usually painted in white.This specific color wasn’t chosen by accident .

In this article we will explain why white is the symbolic color for aircraft.

White airplanes
It is known that most of airplanes are white . This color wasn’t chosen randomly.

White wasn’t always the color for airplanes:

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In the early days of aviation industry, planes were not colored at all . Manufacturers prefered bare metal or chrome . But it was expensive , as airlines had to polish and clean their planes regulary to avoid  leaving a bad impression to their customers.

Therefore, they turned to painting aircrafts.But why did they agree on white?

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Airplanes painting


Why is white the chosen color for airplanes ?

Here are some reasons that explain this choice:

  • light colors reflects sunlight , white is the best option for that:
    AirplanesAirplanes are always exposed to sunlight ,both when they are flying and when they are parked on the ground.So,it came to agreement that white is the best solution to minimize any potential solar radition damage.
  •  White is the least to fade compare to other options:   Other colors fade faster then white , damaging the aesthetics apeel in passenger’s eyes .the painting process takes one to two weeks and costs around  $150,000 to$300,000 per plane.Besides, paintwork can add about 550kg to the plane.  Any additional weight increases fuel consumption and  that doesn’t help airlines with gaining profits. White is the ideal color for airlines,although it also fades after spending an amout of time in the air due to different weather conditions ,Ice, wind, rain and  temperature changes .
  •  Reduce birdstrike hazard: Birds strikes are a common threat to any flight.  In 2019, about 17,228 collisions between an airplane and a bird were recorded according to the United States.

White  allows birds a better identify the threat so they can steer away from it. Darker colors reduce the contrast between the aircraft and the visual background, causing birdstrike risk.

  • It is easier to spot the damage: Aircrafts are usually checked for any form of  damages  such as cracks and dents, and white paint makes it easier to be spotted and repaired regularly.Also, planes contain dark colored fluids ( oil ,hydraulic fluid…) so any leaks would be easy to notice in a lighter surface.
  •  Many airlines sell their airplanes to other carriers, so having most of their aircraft white would be cheaper.
  • Colorful airplanes have low resale value , because the new owner would have to repaint the whole thing , while they can just  repaint the name if it was a white airplane.

Is there any exception for this rule?

Air new Zealand has a unique black aircraft since 2007.

Air new zealand It has started as a part of promotion for the Rugby World cup in France,that took delivery of an all black Boeing 777ZK-OKH .

In 2022, air new zealand became the only airline that flies both black and white models of the same aircraft, as Air NZ’s A321neo ZK-OYB became the first completely black star alliance plane.

Between black and white as colors for airplanes, there is no big noticeable difference. Because, the main role of painting is to protect the plane by coating it. So we can use black , says Michael Williams air new zealand’s chief transformation and alliance officer.

Black is an iconic color in New Zealand . Chief Williams said :” from sport Jerseys to gumboots , black is embedded in new zealand’s national identity and worn with pride”.

Which color is ideal to have the most efficient plane?

Samuel Cowlishaw , marketing manager for  the wholesale paint specialists , maybe choosing black for airplanes could have been a better choice. Because black aviation paint is lighter than white. ” white is one of the heaviest paint out there ” says Cowlishaw.

He claims that black airplanes are more fuel efficient than white ones , that’s actually is a very slightly difference because of ingredients in both colors.



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