The Evolution Of The Lufthansa Livery

German flag carrier Lufthansa has a long and rich history as one of Europe’s largest airlines. The carrier dates back to the 1950s, and can trace its history even further still. During this time, Lufthansa has worn several different liveries. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between some of these paint schemes over the years.

Lufthansa B747-8
Lufthansa celebrates its history by applying retro liveries to aircraft. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The early years

Lufthansa can trace its history back to Deutsch Luft Hansa AG, which was Germany’s former flag carrier, between 1926 and 1945. However, the airline in its current form was founded in January 1953. It commenced operations just over two years later, in April 1955.

Among its first aircraft were the Convair CV-340 and Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation. These piston-engine aircraft served a domestic network for the airline’s first six weeks of operations. However, it soon expanded its portfolio of routes.

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Lufthansa Constellation
Lufthansa’s Super Constellation aircraft did not feature the blue tails that we have come to know today.  Photo: The Stephen J Mason Photography Collection via Flickr

Lufthansa’s first international expansion occurred within Europe in May 1955, to the likes of London, Madrid, and Paris. By June, the airline’s horizons had grown on an intercontinental level, with its Super Constellations serving New York City. These distinctive aircraft bore a striking yellow-outlined blue cheatline in a lightning-bolt-shaped pattern.

The jet age

Just five years after it commenced operations, Lufthansa entered the jet age when it began flying the Boeing 707 in 1960. As well as the standard 707, it also operated the short-fuselage 720 variant of this aircraft. As well as serving high-value routes like Frankfurt-New York, Lufthansa also deployed the 707s to Africa and the Far East.

Lufthansa Boeing 707
Lufthansa’s 707s featured a similar cheatline to its Super Constellations. Photo: kitmasterbloke via Flickr

These aircraft had the same yellow-outlined blue cheatline as the Super Constellation. However, Lufthansa did not paint this aspect of the livery in the latter’s lightning-bolt-shaped pattern. Another contrast was how the airline displayed its logo on the 707’s tail. It was offset against a yellow background, which, itself, was largely surrounded by blue.

As Lufthansa added more jetliners to its fleet, its livery continued to evolve. By the end of the 1960s, the 707 had been joined in the fleet by its smaller 727 and 737 counterparts. These aircraft also featured a different livery to the 707 that had preceded them. As seen below, the blue cheatline lost its yellow outline, and the tail was now fully blue with the distinctive logo displayed amid a yellow circle. Lufthansa’s name also appeared in a new font.

Lufthansa Boeing 737
The 737s presented Lufthansa’s name in a different font. Photo: Ralf Manteufel via Wikimedia Commons

Lufthansa’s first widebody aircraft was the Boeing 747, which it began flying in 1970. The airline’s twin-aisle fleet was later bolstered by the addition of the Airbus A300 and A310. All three of these designs initially bore a similar livery to the Boeing 737, as seen above. One difference was that below the cheatline was painted grey, rather than being left metallic.

The most recent changes

Towards the end of the 1980s, Lufthansa looked to modernize its fleet. It did so by ordering aircraft such as the Airbus A340 and the newer Boeing 747-400. Germany was a country in flux at the time, and the Berlin Wall fell before the decade was over. It was a time of similar change for Lufthansa’s corporate identity, with the late-80s also seeing a new livery.

Lufthansa Airbus A340
As Lufthansa modernized its widebody fleet by adding aircraft such as the A340, its livery changed again. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The new livery saw Lufthansa reduce the proportion of grey paint deployed on the aircraft. Previously, this color had reached as high as the window line. However, after the change, the fuselage was only painted grey below the aircraft’s wing level.

The airline adopted a chunkier font to print its name on its aircraft. Furthermore, it gave the yellow circle in which its logo sat an additional inner ring in the same shade of blue as the tail. Lufthansa would retain this simple but functional livery for three decades.

In 2018, Lufthansa announced its latest livery refresh. This caused quite a stir due to it no longer featuring the yellow background for its logo that the world had become accustomed to. Instead, its iconic crane logo finds itself painted white in a dark blue background.

Lufthansa A380 retirement
Lufthansa’s livery no longer features the yellow background for its logo. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

This is the same color as the tail surrounding it, although it is still located within a circle. However, this is a white outline, rather than a round, yellow-filled background as in previous iterations. In another change, Lufthansa’s aircraft now feature entirely white fuselages.

This represented the end of the cycle which had seen increasingly less grey paint deployed in previous versions. With this refresh having occurred so recently, we are unlikely to see another corporate rebranding episode at Lufthansa for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see what the designers come up with when the time comes.

Which Lufthansa livery is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!