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ATW Editor's Blog

Paint it Black


Rugby fans, or just fans of great style, feast your eyes on this beauty of a 777-300ER that has just rolled out of Boeing's paint hangar in Seattle dressed all in Black.


The plane belongs to Air New Zealand, which commissioned the special paint job to commemorate its country's famous rugby team, the All Blacks, which this year was crowned World Champions after beating France in the 2011 World Cup Final.

All Blacks rugby players Kieran Read and Andy Ellis led the one-of-a-kind Boeing 777-300ER aircraft out of the hangar on Dec. 16; ANZ is a long-time sponsorship of the All Blacks.

Here's Video of the ceremony.

According to Boeing, painting the aircraft took just over a week, two days longer than it normally takes to paint a 777 aircraft. 185 gallons (700 litres) of chrome-free primer and paint was used and involved a total of 14 painters working in shifts 24 hours a day.

Prepping and painting the aircraft entirely black took one and a half days, followed by a further five days for the intricate detail of the silver fern overlaid on it and the Koru symbol. Remaining time was spent on the finishing touches.

"It was, without a doubt, one of the most challenging paint jobs we've ever done, but the paint team was up for the challenge and the results are absolutely outstanding. I am very proud of what the paint team has achieved," said Jeff Klemann, Boeing Vice President Everett Delivery Center.

Contrary to popular belief, Boeing says the black paint won't cause the aircraft to heat up a great deal. In fact, the more than 330 individual TV screens inside the aircraft create more additional heat than the all black paint job.

"The all black colour scheme and silver fern are a key part of both New Zealand's and the All Blacks' identity, so we're excited to be able to take that iconic imagery to the world on a flying billboard that's more than 242 feet (73.9 metres) long," said Air New Zealand Group General Manager International Airline Christopher Luxon.

"It will certainly get people's attention when they see it at Auckland, Los Angeles, London Heathrow and Melbourne airports over the coming year."

The aircraft is expected to be delivered to Air New Zealand in late January following the completion of its interior fit out. and there's more Black to come. By mid next year Air New Zealand will have six aircraft featuring the All Black livery including two Airbus A320s and three Beech 1900D turboprops.

Black is So Back.

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