DALLAS — Some of you have probably seen a KLM (KL) Boeing 777 wearing an orange livery scheme instead of its traditional blue livery. On King’s Day 2015, KLM posted a photo of a Boeing 777 with an orange concept livery on Facebook, asking the following question: “Should we colour orange next year?”
The people’s response was huge: 2,500 comments and more than 30,000 likes. One year later, KL presented its “Orange Pride” livery on the Boeing B777-306 (ER) PH-BVA, the first B777-300 (ER) that the carrier received back in February 2008.
Let’s compare the painting processes of the first and second Orange Pride liveries.
The First Orange Pride (2016)
KLM converted the PH-BVA from blue to orange in just four days; they painted on the famous hangar 14 in Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS), known as the painting bay. Thirty-five workers did the painting process, spraying 335 liters of paint. This aircraft was repainted in 2015, so KLM saved some time painting half of the plane and the band around it.
The first Orange Pride included a modification to the dark blue band around the plane, putting the Dutch flag on it. The second modification was the orange on the frontal section of the aircraft with a sightseeing gradient to convert it into the typical KLM light blue; this gradient also affected the band, which transformed the Dutch flag into the classic KLM dark blue.
On June 15, 2016, the PH-BVA with the “Orange Pride” livery performed its first flight, a roundtrip, to Stavanger, Norway, to check the paint sticks and ensure all the components were working correctly.
The flag carrier of the Netherlands used this plane to promote the Netherlands and for special events. The Orange Pride has operated the “Medal Flight,” a flight between Rio de Janeiro and Amsterdam carrying the Dutch Olympic participants.
The Second Orange Pride (2023)
In late 2023, the airline made the decision to update the Orange Pride aircraft with a significant Dutch influence. Unlike the 2016 version, which was painted in Amsterdam, this time the PH-BVA plane flew to Malta on November 1st to be painted at Aviation Cosmetics Malta (ACM).
The process took 18 days, longer than the four days it took for the first Orange Pride.
The 2023 version underwent some changes. Instead of the gradual transition from orange to light blue and from the Dutch flag to dark blue, they opted to enlarge the Dutch flag that runs from the nose to the tail, replacing the gradient in the middle section of the aircraft.
This alteration allows the livery to better showcase the Dutch identity, with the flag being more prominent on the plane rather than just on the small nose band. Additionally, this new version is easier to maintain compared to the 2016 one, as the absence of the gradient eliminates the need for meticulous cleaning to maintain its perfect appearance.
Happy orangy Thanksgiving from Airways!
Featured image: The newly painted Boeing 777-306 (ER), PH-BVA (detail). Photo: KLM