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?

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  • Spanair 5022 had a star alliance livery too: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanair_Flight_5022 Feb 25, 2013 at 21:05
  • 5
    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, 2014 at 16:29
  • @reirab huh, well spotted. Thanks, I'll look for that in future.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 18, 2014 at 7:52
  • Star Alliance is an alliance between 28 airlines to boost sales and destinations without increasing cost to the airlines. This allows them to move passengers to different parts of the world that other airlines service so it allows you to go to different places that U.S. Airways would not fly to. You could there for transfer to an Air China flight in the alliance and continue to China for instance.
    – Doug1969
    Apr 15, 2017 at 0:23
  • 1
    @chx: US Airways no longer even exists. Apr 15, 2017 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


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.


The airplane that had SkyTeam as its logo is ACTUALLY a cargo plane. When SkyTeam was created they also formed SkyTeam cargo based in Amsterdam.


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