SAA aircraft livery

SAA’s new aircraft livery appears slightly different to other aircraft in its fleet. Image: Screengrab : FlySAA / Twitter

South African Airways’ aircraft with a difference! See it here

The livery on SAA’s newest aircraft appears a little different to that of the rest of the airline’s fleet.

SAA aircraft livery

SAA’s new aircraft livery appears slightly different to other aircraft in its fleet. Image: Screengrab : FlySAA / Twitter

Seasoned travellers may notice that some aircraft operating South African Airways flights do not look exactly like other SAA aircraft.

There is uncharacteristic dark blue imagery on parts of the aircraft as well as a Turkish flag near the tail. Why is this so? 

The different colouring and the Turkish flag on SAA’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft are part of the livery of the airline that is leasing planes to SAA.  

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Most airlines ensure that the imagery on their aircraft is uniform. This helps the airline to build its branding and identity.

Hence the use of uniform or standard livery for the aircraft in an airline’s fleet.


However, some aircraft in an airline’s fleet may sport different livery to other aircraft in the fleet, due to special events or to advertise some special feature.   

When an airline transports players to an event such as flying the country’s national teams to the Olympic Games. Or if an airline sponsors a sports team or an important event, it might deck out one or a few aircraft in its fleet with unique or different livery.    

Some airlines may choose to differentiate one or a number of aircraft in their fleet in order to draw attention to something.

Earlier this year, Airlink for example, revealed their Little Black Number, an aircraft which sports unique livery. FlySafair recently revealed their aircraft bearing green and gold livery – in support of SA’s national rugby team, the Springboks. 

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South African Airways will be using leased aircraft to operate select flights on its route network for the coming summer season. 

SAA has contracted two aircraft for a 6-month period. This will enable the airline to operate more flights during the busy summer peak when there is high demand for flights.

The national airline has a small fleet consisting of five Airbus A320s, two Airbus A330s and an Airbus A340.


The leasing of two Boeing 737-800 aircraft will enable SAA to offer more flights without needing to enter long-term leases for aircraft.

Per the agreement, SAA will operate scheduled flights using two SunExpress aircraft for a six-month period, from mid-October. SunExpress is a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines.

The lease covers the provision of aircraft, maintenance, and cockpit crew, whilst the flights will be served by SAA’s cabin crew, to maintain SAA’s customer service standards, according to Newsroom Aviator.

For the maintenance of these aircraft, SunExpress has contracted SAA Technical (SAAT) to perform any required work on the aircraft whilst they are operated by SAA.

The first of the two B737-800 aircraft arrived in South Africa last week.

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