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MrFlashjet1
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British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:12 pm

Hi,
I am a Heathrow spotter and have been a keen aviation enthusiast since 1984, this is my first post on Airliners.net!

I was a photographer and shot many rare planes from 1985 to 2010, then from 2010 onwards I moved into videography.
How glad I did as I managed to shoot many now classic planes gone from our skies.

Looking at YouTube today, I found these two great videos of the British Airways World Images!

For me, the Utopia livery was a mess and I was glad to see the back of it.
BA went too bold! The tail is the identity of the airline!
They should have had the world images as a 'wrap around' the rear fuselage, similar to how many Chinese airlines have their special schemes.

I think the world images would have lasted a lot longer if they had done that.
Here are the classic videos - Boeing 747-200's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcXmNVQM1ZA
Boeing 747-400's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paXMQQBnSNU&t=1588s
 
amc737
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:33 pm

I'm guessing your same the MrFlashjet who has posted the videos on Youtube at Heathrow and Gatwick - If so thank you, they have been keeping entertained during lockdown. I started being interested in airliners in 1990 so did just catch the Pan Am/TWA era at Heathrow and being very excited when United and American started operations including the 2 AA 747SPs so the videos have brought back many happy memories. It is also quite strange looking back how things changed so quickly, the eastern bloc carriers operating TU-134s, TU-154s and IL-62's and within a few years replaced by western jets.

I would recommend anyone who likes a bit nostalgia checking out the videos

amc737
 
MrFlashjet1
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:14 pm

Thank you amc737! I am indeed MrFlashjet The Heathrow Airport Archive on YouTube! The era of 1990/91 was a great one at Heathrow as TWA/PAA left we had AA/UA come in and with all their 747's and DC-10's/MD-11's it was like Christmas EVERYDAY!

Then of course came the new BA livery with all the different world tails, the footage in the above videos is so RARE, please feel free to share it.

So glad you were part of it - A friend of mine shot so much at Heathrow from the early '90's - some of it can be seen here >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7je_NWqmXf4&t=1s

The Heathrow of today is a shadow of what it once was and as for Gatwick, well it is like a larger version of London City Airport, sad.
 
USAirALB
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:03 pm

I found the whole Utopian era to be quite interesting, and I personally believe it might have been more successful if it was implemented today.

Remember, it wasn't just the new livery, but it was a whole new branding strategy. BA was effectively trying to become an "airline of the world" that simply happened to be based in the UK. The overall marketing strategy of the airline was changed to reflect this. The Flower Duet theme song got a couple of new variants (I recall hearing a didgeridoo version), for example. The world images were also applied to ticket jackets, luggage tags, menus, ticket counters, name tags (IIRC), and ground vehicles, etc, basically everywhere that had a BA logo also had a world image connected to it.

I think only a quarter or so world images were released. BA had apparently planned for several more to be released before the project was canceled.

There was this great video posted to YouTube that introduced the new branding called "While we are gathered here" or something like that and portrayed the lives of different people around the world and what they were doing during the exact moment the livery was about to be launched. I found a video excerpt here: https://vimeo.com/44468526

The World Traveller cabin was relaunched during this time with seat fabric that mimicking the Utopian design, and the tiered "space tray" or whatever it was called which ultimately failed miserably. WT relaunch videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvw1OLNzNr8 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJmZBvWdp8A .
RJ85, F70, E135, E140, E145, E70, E75, E90, CR2, CR7, CR9, 717, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 744ER, 752, 753, 762, 772, 77E, 77W, 789, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 343, 359, 388
 
Shrewfly
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:49 pm

Slightly off topic, but after watching the link I found this....

https://youtu.be/1VDgl835Mxk

A look into a Britannia 757 charter in the 90s....

Terribly dated but quite amusing/interesting all the same.
 
MrFlashjet1
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:52 pm

Thanks for those videos. The BA branding has lasted well despite the problems with the world images.
I remember their were indeed many more designs that were planned and not used.

There were even casual rumours that BA were going to change their name (how true these rumours were I don't know, but I am sure privately that was one of the ideas to transform the airline into a global airline)

It's worth pointing out that some other airlines such as PIA changed their tails (with ethnic designs from Pakistan) and 'copied' the BA idea.
PIA reverted back to it's standard design after not too long.
So whether this idea would work today is open to debate...
 
MrFlashjet1
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:54 pm

Does anyone have any pictures of the unused 'world images' designs?
 
amc737
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Tue Apr 21, 2020 7:39 pm

I don't think any airline has ever re-branded quite like when British Airways introduced the utopia scheme. Apart the long lead time that a new identity was coming including aircraft being painted in an interim scheme from January 1997, when it was launched on 10 June that year it was worldwide with a Concorde and 747 at Heathrow, and others at Belfast, Birmingham, Gatwick, Johannesburg, Munich and Seattle. Later that month a Concorde, 777 and EMB-145 where at the Paris airshow. Can you think of an airline that rebranded like that?

To say there was criticism was an understatement and initially only Concorde was meant to have the Union flag however it was then decided to paint half the fleet with it starting with a 767 that went on a Royal tour however this was the beginning of the end - no A319's ever had utopia tails when delivered to Birmingham for example despite artist impressions of Chelsea Rose etc.

I think it was Rod Eddington who became CEO in 2000 that finally ended the utopia tails with slight changes since, the flag goes higher up the tail, the change of white and the the fly to serve badge but the base of the scheme is now 23 years old. There are occasionally rumors of a livery change but i would be very surprised if that occured.

amc737
 
MrFlashjet1
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:15 pm

The other notable thing about that 1997 unveiling was that NOBODY knew what the livery actually looked like until the day itself!

I got to Heathrow about 11am that day in June '97 and was shocked to find the South African tailed 747-400 and Concorde over at BA maintenance!

Nobody I was with could actually believe what BA had done. The change was so radical and was a genuine shock to everyone present and not in a positive way.

To keep these images a secret was I suppose essential otherwise there probably would have been a backlash before they had been unveiled!

The current livery would be hard to replace with something better.
HOWEVER, it is worth mentioning that if Scotland ever leaves the union (which they probably will at some point) then British Airways will never look the same again!
 
USAirALB
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:00 pm

MrFlashjet1 wrote:
Does anyone have any pictures of the unused 'world images' designs?

Some countries were noticeably absent from the original collection of World Images...no countries from Latin America and the Caribbean represented despite BA's presence there (they had an even bigger presence there in 1998-2001, having discontinued BOG/CSS). We probably would have seen an image from Malaysia or Singapore. Australia had three different designs to show BA's relationship/partial ownership of QF during that time, while the USA only had one design. I would imagine more liveries from the US were planned. Greece and Spain probably would have had a design each, and there would probably be another included for India and maybe Canada.
RJ85, F70, E135, E140, E145, E70, E75, E90, CR2, CR7, CR9, 717, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 744ER, 752, 753, 762, 772, 77E, 77W, 789, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 343, 359, 388
 
ukjohna
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:15 pm

USAirALB wrote:
MrFlashjet1 wrote:
Does anyone have any pictures of the unused 'world images' designs?

Some countries were noticeably absent from the original collection of World Images...no countries from Latin America and the Caribbean represented despite BA's presence there (they had an even bigger presence there in 1998-2001, having discontinued BOG/CSS). We probably would have seen an image from Malaysia or Singapore. Australia had three different designs to show BA's relationship/partial ownership of QF during that time, while the USA only had one design. I would imagine more liveries from the US were planned. Greece and Spain probably would have had a design each, and there would probably be another included for India and maybe Canada.



..England (Chelsea Rose, Grand Union, Blue Poole and Colour Down the SIde), Scotland (Bennyhone Tartan) and Ireland (variations of Colum/Dove) were represented but Wales was absent except for the “British Blend” on the A320 from the Sunday Times competition. Although Wales is not a big BA destination, the maintenance facilities in Cardiff make me think that Wales would have had a tail too.
 
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garpd
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:11 am

I never understood the hate for the "World tails". I thought it was brilliant, celebrating the art of many countries and cultures. It is a shame that short sighted and closed minded politicians pressured BA into discontinuing the program. I saw some lovely designs that were never to see the tail on a plane :(
arpdesign.wordpress.com
 
BealineV953
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:16 pm

USAirALB wrote:

I think only a quarter or so world images were released. BA had apparently planned for several more to be released before the project was canceled.

.


Twenty-six different images were used on BA aircraft, including one that was used only on a Brymon DHC-8. The plan was to use around fifty. There were three designs used only by Air Liberte and three used only by Deutsch BA that were likely to be used on BA aircraft, but never were. BA offices overseas were asked for ideas that could be developed into designs.

The original artworks are (or were) displayed at Waterside (BA Head Office) and at the IAG Cargo offices at Heathrow.
Ever since childhood, when I lived within sight of London Airport, I have seldom seen a plane go by and not wished I was on it.”
With apologies to Paul Theroux - ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’
 
BealineV953
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:40 pm

garpd wrote:
I never understood the hate for the "World tails". I thought it was brilliant, celebrating the art of many countries and cultures. It is a shame that short sighted and closed minded politicians pressured BA into discontinuing the program. I saw some lovely designs that were never to see the tail on a plane :(


I'm with you. I liked the idea very much. I didn't like all the designs, but I liked most of them and liked some of them very much.
Some of the designs were multi-coloured and complicated, and took longer than a typical tail to paint. The BA guy at Boeing told me that Boeing didn't want their paint-shops to be back-logged, so new aircraft deliveries from Seattle tended to be in the more simple designs. That meant that some designs, eg 'Renezvous', appeared on more aircraft than had been planned, while some designs, eg 'Bauhaus', were not widely seen.
Ever since childhood, when I lived within sight of London Airport, I have seldom seen a plane go by and not wished I was on it.”
With apologies to Paul Theroux - ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’
 
bhxdtw
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:54 pm

So here's a question,

Is there any website or anyone here, who has a comprehensive list of the tails that were applied to aircraft?
I'm thinking of starting a Gemini collection of world tails.
 
MrFlashjet1
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:17 pm

There is a website - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_A ... c_liveries
I haven't checked the accuracy of it 100% but it looks pretty complete.

Thanks for the replies.
I wondered why there were more 'Renezvous' tails. It shows just how many planes at the time Boeing were rolling off the production line, the peak of 747-400 production!
During that period at Heathrow (1997-2002) BA operated nearly 100 (one hundred) 747's of various sorts.
Yes, odd how Latin America was missed from the launch designs.
 
MrFlashjet1
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:24 pm

There was a another guy who filmed at Heathrow during the days of the 'world images', another collection of rare footage and days NEVER to be repeated (certainly at LHR) >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CVQCRJsMrc

Also some unique photos from the launch day in June 1997 can be seen here >>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1Pdcg0zck&t=1085s

I'm sure an interesting watch for some.
 
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JannEejit
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:30 pm

garpd wrote:
I never understood the hate for the "World tails". I thought it was brilliant, celebrating the art of many countries and cultures. It is a shame that short sighted and closed minded politicians pressured BA into discontinuing the program. I saw some lovely designs that were never to see the tail on a plane :(


I thought the project was excellent too, something ahead of it's time, and a bit different. People who said it was unpatriotic, missed the point completely, and controllers who said they couldn't identify BA planes from the tower had plenty other means to do so, not least the large 'British Airways' text applied across the fuselage. I found the backlash (largely led by Thatcher) to be disappointing and showed a great deal of parochialism, if not shades of xenophobia too. If nothing else it was great to see the many designs show up at the airport, instead of the same old thing all the time. But yes, it's been a long time, since even the standard Chatham livery became the norm. Much longer than any previous BA livery survived. I suspect though, it's probably best kept 'as is' for now until someone with a better budget and interest in liveries takes charge at IAG.
 
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JannEejit
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:43 pm

bhxdtw wrote:
I'm thinking of starting a Gemini collection of world tails.


I'm pretty sure I have them all already, and all the others like Big Bird etc..
 
BealineV953
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:58 pm

MrFlashjet1 wrote:
There is a website - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_A ... c_liveries
I haven't checked the accuracy of it 100% but it looks pretty complete.

.


Thanks for the link.
The Wikipedia page appears to show all the World Images, although I wouldn't include British Blend, Olympic and Poppy.
The number of aircraft given that carried each scheme looks to be about right, but the list of registrations is not complete and does not include the Comair and Sunair aircraft that wore the images.
For a reliable and comprehensive list of the World Images and the aircraft that carried them, see 'British Airways, Its History, Aircraft and Liveries' by Keith Gaskell.
Ever since childhood, when I lived within sight of London Airport, I have seldom seen a plane go by and not wished I was on it.”
With apologies to Paul Theroux - ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’
 
MrFlashjet1
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:27 pm

Yes, I have that excellent book 'British Airways, Its History, Aircraft and Liveries' by Keith Gaskell. and would recommend it to everyone.
It is still available on Amazon.

Probably one of the best aviation books, certainly on BA.
 
amc737
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:06 pm

I too have that book, its a shame its never been updated over the years as it must be 20 years old now.

I also quite liked the concept of the world tails but I think it failed in execution. I think airlines like Frontier or even Go do/did the different tails or colors better by keeping things uniform, BA never did this, there was never a theme and the world tails could look quite different depending on the type it was on. While I liked the tail art in most cases they where meaningless - an exception being the Scottish tartan. This is reflected by the fact BA had to add the country of origin on the side after launch as before you didn't look at Waves of the City and think USA.

Elements of the scheme have lingered on, the sign at the BA ID centre had a Ndebele Emmly surround until recently and the seat patterns of non refurbed 747's still had Waves of the City imprinted.
 
USAirALB
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:06 pm

Is there a reason why some of the planes had the country of the art's origin painted on the end of the fuselage, while others did not?
RJ85, F70, E135, E140, E145, E70, E75, E90, CR2, CR7, CR9, 717, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 744ER, 752, 753, 762, 772, 77E, 77W, 789, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 343, 359, 388
 
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garpd
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:54 pm

JannEejit wrote:
garpd wrote:
I never understood the hate for the "World tails". I thought it was brilliant, celebrating the art of many countries and cultures. It is a shame that short sighted and closed minded politicians pressured BA into discontinuing the program. I saw some lovely designs that were never to see the tail on a plane :(


I thought the project was excellent too, something ahead of it's time, and a bit different. People who said it was unpatriotic, missed the point completely, and controllers who said they couldn't identify BA planes from the tower had plenty other means to do so, not least the large 'British Airways' text applied across the fuselage. I found the backlash (largely led by Thatcher) to be disappointing and showed a great deal of parochialism, if not shades of xenophobia too. If nothing else it was great to see the many designs show up at the airport, instead of the same old thing all the time. But yes, it's been a long time, since even the standard Chatham livery became the norm. Much longer than any previous BA livery survived. I suspect though, it's probably best kept 'as is' for now until someone with a better budget and interest in liveries takes charge at IAG.


:checkmark:

Agreed on all counts
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MrFlashjet1
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:42 pm

The reason some aircraft did not have the name of the country is because initially only the artwork was put onto the tail.
After a few months it became apparent that the name of the country was needed to be added to identify the artwork's country of origin.

The early painted planes (summer 1997) didn't all get the name of the country added.
 
ukjohna
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:05 pm

JannEejit wrote:
bhxdtw wrote:
I'm thinking of starting a Gemini collection of world tails.


I'm pretty sure I have them all already, and all the others like Big Bird etc..


The discussion of models probably belongs in the "Hobby" forum, but I am not sure how many Utopia fans will look over there. 1:400 scale has a good representation from the various manufacturers. In 1:200 scale (my preferred), there are some models, but you have to go the custom route for many. Much of my Utopia collection can be seen on Flickr at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmMLQLLM. I have a full set of 757s that are not in the album yet. If you loved Utopia, go take a look. If you didn't, please stay away!
 
bols59
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Sat May 23, 2020 3:57 pm

I flew SEA - LHR March 1998. Taxiing to the terminal I saw one of the new aircraft in the Utopia livery. Without being at all aware of the branding change, I immediately recognized it. I found it peculiar that some Asian crew complained about it, because they couldn't recognize wh. airline it was...
 
KlimaBXsst
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Sat May 23, 2020 11:23 pm

Just seeing these Utopian colors makes me feel nauseous and ill.
This was bad. Very bad.

BA is due for a new post-Covid 19, post-Brexit livery fashionable and stylish and nothing like the yucktopia colors.
Aesthetically the A 340 got it right!
 
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chunhimlai
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Sat May 23, 2020 11:50 pm

A few thing Thacher did correctly
Image
 
OB1504
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Sun May 24, 2020 11:21 pm

MrFlashjet1 wrote:
It's worth pointing out that some other airlines such as PIA changed their tails (with ethnic designs from Pakistan) and 'copied' the BA idea.
PIA reverted back to it's standard design after not too long.
So whether this idea would work today is open to debate...


In that case, BA "copied" the idea from Mexicana, which unveiled their own ethnic tails in 1990.



Like BA, 50 different designs were originally planned, which was initially pared down to 21 and then just 3. By 1993 they started standardizing on a single tail design for cost purposes.

ukjohna wrote:
USAirALB wrote:
MrFlashjet1 wrote:
Does anyone have any pictures of the unused 'world images' designs?

Some countries were noticeably absent from the original collection of World Images...no countries from Latin America and the Caribbean represented despite BA's presence there (they had an even bigger presence there in 1998-2001, having discontinued BOG/CSS). We probably would have seen an image from Malaysia or Singapore. Australia had three different designs to show BA's relationship/partial ownership of QF during that time, while the USA only had one design. I would imagine more liveries from the US were planned. Greece and Spain probably would have had a design each, and there would probably be another included for India and maybe Canada.



..England (Chelsea Rose, Grand Union, Blue Poole and Colour Down the SIde), Scotland (Bennyhone Tartan) and Ireland (variations of Colum/Dove) were represented but Wales was absent except for the “British Blend” on the A320 from the Sunday Times competition. Although Wales is not a big BA destination, the maintenance facilities in Cardiff make me think that Wales would have had a tail too.


I wonder if the campaign would've been better received if BA initially only focused on the British tail designs. There would've been less complexity from not having as many designs and it still would've been "British".



Chelsea Rose was my favorite and I would've preferred to see it survive rather than the current livery.

amc737 wrote:
I also quite liked the concept of the world tails but I think it failed in execution. I think airlines like Frontier or even Go do/did the different tails or colors better by keeping things uniform, BA never did this, there was never a theme and the world tails could look quite different depending on the type it was on.


I wonder if the World Tails would've stuck around longer if they had been implemented similar to how Frontier does their unique tails, essentially with giant decals.
 
USAirALB
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Re: British Airways Utopia Livery CLASSIC VIDEOS 1998-2001

Sun May 24, 2020 11:28 pm

OB1504 wrote:
MrFlashjet1 wrote:
It's worth pointing out that some other airlines such as PIA changed their tails (with ethnic designs from Pakistan) and 'copied' the BA idea.
PIA reverted back to it's standard design after not too long.
So whether this idea would work today is open to debate...


In that case, BA "copied" the idea from Mexicana, which unveiled their own ethnic tails in 1990.



Like BA, 50 different designs were originally planned, which was initially pared down to 21 and then just 3. By 1993 they started standardizing on a single tail design for cost purposes.

ukjohna wrote:
USAirALB wrote:
Some countries were noticeably absent from the original collection of World Images...no countries from Latin America and the Caribbean represented despite BA's presence there (they had an even bigger presence there in 1998-2001, having discontinued BOG/CSS). We probably would have seen an image from Malaysia or Singapore. Australia had three different designs to show BA's relationship/partial ownership of QF during that time, while the USA only had one design. I would imagine more liveries from the US were planned. Greece and Spain probably would have had a design each, and there would probably be another included for India and maybe Canada.



..England (Chelsea Rose, Grand Union, Blue Poole and Colour Down the SIde), Scotland (Bennyhone Tartan) and Ireland (variations of Colum/Dove) were represented but Wales was absent except for the “British Blend” on the A320 from the Sunday Times competition. Although Wales is not a big BA destination, the maintenance facilities in Cardiff make me think that Wales would have had a tail too.


I wonder if the campaign would've been better received if BA initially only focused on the British tail designs. There would've been less complexity from not having as many designs and it still would've been "British".



Chelsea Rose was my favorite and I would've preferred to see it survive rather than the current livery.

I agree.

The whole idea of the campaign was to portray BA as a modern, caring "global" airline that was based in a country that was equally as modern and caring. They could have likely stuck with 3-5 designs (maybe one each from Wales/N Ireland/England/Scotland and then have Chatham Dockyard as the UK livery) that portrayed the UK as "modern" and likely would have gotten away with it.
RJ85, F70, E135, E140, E145, E70, E75, E90, CR2, CR7, CR9, 717, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 744ER, 752, 753, 762, 772, 77E, 77W, 789, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 343, 359, 388

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