The sky is predominantly blue – and red. Not just because blue light travels more efficiently than other colours in the spectrum. Or because the sun briefly turns the sky red at night, much to a sailor’s delight. Blue and red also happen to be the preferred pigments of airlines and the travel industry at large. Consider the traveller: Most will flash a burgundy or navy passport as they step aboard a blue‑ or red‑painted plane, bound for a destination that waves a red and/or blue flag. There are only 10 national flags without one of the two hues. Why are airlines primed to paint the sky red and blue? A recent study provides some answers.
Published last year in the Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, the report examines passengers’ preferences in aircraft colours and designs. In the first exercise, participants were divided into two categories: business and vacation travellers. Each group was asked to rank 34 tail‑fin designs based on their trip’s purpose. The business‑oriented crew were drawn to primary blues and reds and straightforward geometric lines. By contrast, the leisure lot leapt for technicolour scenes, with splashes of yellow, pink, green, orange and aquamarine, and curvy shapes.