MIAMI — Delta Air Lines has quietly revised their modernized widget livery over the last year. The minor change can be found under the fuselage where the nostalgic Delta Widget and word DELTA is spelled out on several Boeing 737-900ER and Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
For several months, the 737-900ER was the sole fleet type to receive this updated livery. This changed last May, when Delta took delivery of N822NW, its first 242T-A330-300 IGW (Increased gross weight) variant. The livery made its first appearance in September 2014 on ship N827DN, a 737-900ER dedicated to Delta co-founder and former CEO C.E. Woolman.
With the exception of the new colorscheme in Southwest Airlines, no American carrier has applied underside titles or logos in their standard liveries. Delta joins the likes of airlines including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic in sporting company titles on the bottom of their aircraft. Although seemingly new to US-based airlines, this practice flies back in time to the early commercial aviation era, when airlines -including Delta Air Lines- applied the company titles on the wings. The reason was not aesthetic but mandatory, in order to distinguish a civil transport airliner from a military one. One such aircraft is Delta’s iconic Ship 41, a restored Douglas DC-3 which currently is part of the Delta Flight Museum collection in Atlanta.
From a marketing perspective, advertising on the bottom of aircraft is gold. The simple fact is that when aircraft are airborne, the only viewable surface of the aircraft is the bottom. To the general public, it is unclear who operates an aircraft unless it is sporting underside titles or the rare visually-popping livery (such as the new Spirit and Southwest schemes). Having the Delta titles and widget underneath allows spectators the chance to identify an airline in the sky.
Adam Pinsley, a graphic designer in Delta Air Lines Marketing Department said the updated livery “serves to further Delta’s brand visibility and awareness beyond the airfield.” When speaking to Michael Thomas from the Delta News Hub. “it (the revised livery) fits with our brand promise of being thoughtful and innovative, and really adds an unique element to what is already a sleek and modern aircraft livery.”
While the 737-900ER and A330-300 IGW are the only aircraft sporting the underside logos, Delta Air Lines has assured their design team is hard at work fitting additional aircraft types with the updated livery. In the coming months, expect several more aircraft types to receive this updated livery including the first of Delta’s 45 A321ceo aircraft on order.