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Livery of the Week: China Airlines’ Carbon Fiber Livery

The sleek yet elegant livery highlights a key design feature of the Airbus A350.

China Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 B-18918 in the world’s first and only co-branded Airbus livery (Photo: Airbus)

Editor’s Note: AirlineGeeks is excited to launch our ‘Livery of the Week’ series. Every Friday, a team member will share an airline livery, which can be from the past, present, or even a special scheme. Some airline liveries are works of art. The complexity associated with painting around critical flight components and the added weight requires outside-the-box thinking from designers. The average airliner can cost upwards of $200,000 to repaint, creating a separate aircraft repainting industry as a result.

Have an idea for a livery that we should highlight? Drop us a line

In October 2018, China Airlines took delivery of the final aircraft in its order of fourteen Airbus A350-900s. By this time, the airline was no stranger to special liveries on its A350s, with two previously delivered aircraft already featuring paint jobs celebrating Taiwanese birds.

But the airline did something different with its fourteenth A350 – serial number 239, registered as B-18918 – by unveiling the first-ever co-branded Airbus livery in the world. For this final aircraft in the order, China Airlines and Airbus partnered to create a stunning joint livery that would show off a key aspect of the A350’s design using China Airlines’ distinctive colors.

The Livery: A Fusion of Eastern and Western Cultures

The livery itself is sleek and elegant, combining the unique branding of both companies. The typical blue and purple strokes that are found at the front of China Airlines’ standard livery are not present, giving the nose of the aircraft a clean look.

China Airlines’ name is displayed under the windows between the first two cabin doors. Looking further back on the aircraft, “Airbus A350” lettering is prominently painted across the center of the fuselage. Behind that is the most distinctive aspect of the livery: the Airbus A350 XWB carbon fiber pattern, shown in China Airlines’ blue and purple corporate identity colors.

The tail features China Airlines’ distinctive red plum blossom. In a press release published at the time of the livery’s unveiling, the airline described the interconnectedness of a high-tech design with traditional weaving as a “fusion of Eastern and Western cultures.”

The tail of China Airlines’ co-branded livery with Airbus, featuring the airline’s distinctive red plum blossom (Photo: Airbus)

The Significance of Carbon Fiber

Fuselages of commercial aircraft were traditionally made from aluminum, but newer aircraft such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner have fuselages built from carbon fiber reinforced polymer.

The A350 is Airbus’ first aircraft to significantly feature carbon fiber composite materials, which provide increased strength and weight savings when compared to aluminum. The livery’s prominent display of the carbon fiber pattern highlights this important feature of the A350.

Five Years On: Still a Beautiful Sight in the Skies

Five years after the livery first took flight, it remains Airbus’ only joint livery with an airline. The aircraft continues to wear the unique livery, bringing beautiful imagery to destinations all around the world.

The joint China Airlines-Airbus livery features a design highlighting the carbon fiber design of the Airbus A350, using China Airlines’ distinctive corporate colors (Photo: Airbus)

China Airlines deploys its A350-900s on a variety of routes. They can be found flying short and medium-haul flights within Asia to destinations such as Shanghai and Bangkok and on European flights to places like Vienna and Rome.

The airline also uses them on flights across the Pacific Ocean, both southbound to Australia and New Zealand, and to North American destinations like Vancouver and Ontario. The carrier is also planning on leasing two additional A350s, with the first one slated to join the fleet in the coming months.

Andrew Chen


  • Andrew Chen

    Andrew is a lifelong lover of aviation and travel. He has flown all over the world and is fascinated by the workings of the air travel industry. As a private pilot and glider pilot who has worked with airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders, he is always excited to share his passion for aviation with others. In addition to being a writer, he also hosts Flying Smarter, an educational travel podcast that explores the complex world of air travel to help listeners become better-informed and savvier travelers.

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