Why A Competitor Is Unhappy With Lufthansa’s New Livery

Polish carrier LOT has taken offense to Lufthansa’s new fleet-wide livery, exclaiming that passengers will get confused between the two rival airlines and that their reputation may be damaged!

Getty / Lufthansa
An airline has become very upset with Lufthansa’s new livery. Photo: Getty Images

What are the details?

Airlines change livery all the time, sometimes to too much fanfare and praise, other times slammed and even forced to change it by the government. But this is the first time we have heard of a competitor airline being upset at a rival’s livery.

According to Aerotelegraph, the first to publish this story, Polish national carrier LOT has taken offense to the new redesigned Lufthansa livery.

First some background history. Both these two logos feature an interpretation of a crane (bird). Previously the two airlines had this distinction:

  • Lufthansa had a deep blue crane flying in the direction of the aircraft in a yellow circle on a deep blue background. The rest of the aircraft was painted white.
  • LOT has a white crane with wings outstretched in a white circle over a blue background. There is a small red and white stripe at the bottom of the tail and the aircraft is white.

It seems similar, but things got a bit more confusing when Lufthansa revamped their livery.

What is the issue?

The issue is the new livery between the two airlines. Below is a little game of spot the difference:

The two airlines liveries. Photo left: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia
Photo right: Masakatsu Ukon via Wikimedia

LOT is arguing that passengers will get confused between the two airlines that both feature a white crane in a white circle with a blue background. Naturally, I can see where LOT is coming from and whilst the crane is different to me, for someone who doesn’t fly much they might get a bit confused.

Even during picture research for this article, I came across multiple people confusing the two airlines in Google images.

Why does LOT think this is a big deal?

LOT and many other firms are ultra-protective of their trademarks. If someone infringes upon them and LOT doesn’t shut them down, it will be open season on them in the future. However, its a bit more tricky when its a rival airline.

LOT discovered this dispute when Lufthansa tried to register the new livery trademark in European courts. The airline had no problem in Germany (obviously) and painted an entire Boeing 747 to show off the new livery. However, when it came to international registrations in 2018 they were caught out by LOT.

The new livery was first shown off on a Boeing 747-8. Photo: Lufthansa

Specifically, LOT has taken Lufthansa to court to argue that the new livery:

  • Lufthansa’s new livery creates a likelihood of confusion
  • Lufthansa’s new livery gives them an unfair advantage
  • As such, LOT’s brand and reputation have been damaged.

Whether or not this is true is still up for debate (and hence in the courts), but reportedly Lufthansa is speaking to LOT to settle the issue.

What about TAROM?

A fellow Simple Flying reader on Twitter @arinjay_19 asked why doesn’t LOT go after TAROM too?

TAROM also loves deep blue and a white swallow. Photo: Aisano via WIkimedia

TAROM is the Romanian national carrier and is sporting a livery awfully similar to both Lufthansa’s and LOT’s livery. If LOT is so worried about their brand identity, then they should have hounded after this airline in the early 1990s. According to Wikipedia, both airlines acknowledge the similarity but that LOT is a crane and TAROM is a swallow.

Simple Flying has reached out to both LOT and Lufthansa for comment but has yet to receive a reply. As this is a legal battle ongoing, likely both will abstain from any major opinions.

What do you think? Can you spot the difference between the two airlines? Let us know in the comments.