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On Saturday I was at YVR airport and saw what I've seen a few times before - a plane painted with a Star Alliance decal. No "Air New Zealand" or "Air Canada" or whatever, JUST Star Alliance.

Then this morning, walking outside work, I saw a plane fly over with just the SkyTeam decal all over it.

I've never seen a "Star Alliance" flight, or heard of anyone going in these planes. What's the deal? They can't just be advertising, surely? Or are they occasionally used for code-sharing flight or similar?

enter image description here

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Spanair 5022 had a star alliance livery too: – André Peseur Feb 25 '13 at 21:05
Note that on the picture you posted it actually does have the name of the airline on it. It says "U.S. Airways" under the word "Star." This is typical for the Star Alliance and SkyTeam liveries I've seen. They usually have the name of the alliance displayed prominently, but they also usually include the name and/or logo of the actual airline. – reirab Sep 16 '14 at 16:29
@reirab huh, well spotted. Thanks, I'll look for that in future. – Mark Mayo Sep 18 '14 at 7:52
up vote 11 down vote accepted

They are simply advertising, just the same as an airline may paint the logo of a sports team on an aircraft, or name it after a city. There is no other difference whatsoever, either in facilities or services, compared to the rest of the airline's fleet.

There are several different Star Alliance livery schemes around, as a common design was not published until 2003 or so (and since Singapore keeps their own logo on their tails). According to an article in the February 2009 issue of Network, a magazine for employees of Star Alliance airlines, each carrier is committed to to paint at least 3% of their international fleet in this design, with a minimum of one, in order to promote the Star Alliance brand.

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