The logos of airlines provide distinctive branding for commercial and corporate reasons. They represent powerful symbols of associated companies and national identity.
For design agencies, branding a major airline is the most prestigious job, and one of the most expensive to implement. Every day thousands of people take it to the air. They often get rather attached to the logos of their country’s ‘flag-carrying’ airlines.
Thus, designing a logo isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s a serious multi-billion dollar matter and a big responsibility for any agency as they have to think of every possible aspect. Below, we are presenting some of the most recognizable airline logos from around the world. You can use this list as resource inspiration for your own projects.
All images are taken from the official website of the airline. They are not our property and certain commercial use of these logos may be trademark infringement.
The logo of EgyptAir is Horus, one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities. Horus is treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists. He was mostly portrayed as a falcon or a man with a falcon head.
The airline chose Horus because of its ancient symbolism as ‘god of kingship and the sky’. They have been using this logo since 2008.
39. Thai Airways
Thai Airways had greatly extended its global reach by the mid-1970s. In 1975, they came up with a new logo that projected a more modern and international image. The design was magenta, purple, and gold ‘jumpee’ that incorporated elements of traditional Thai imagery, rich colors of tropical orchids, golden temples, Thailand’s lustrous silk.
In 2005, they made some minor tweaks in the logo (modified palette of vibrant colors) giving it a slightly formal look.
38. Hainan Airlines
Founded in 1993, the Hainan Airlines logo is composed on several elements, including the wings of the golden Garuda — a mythological Chinese bird — its golden horn, and auspicious clouds.
37. Southwest Airlines
The world’s largest low-cost carrier, Southwest Airlines revealed its first logo in 1971 that included a friendly heart emblazoned in a set of pilot wings. The heart was then replaced in 1998 with something starker and decidedly more corporate.
In 2014, the airline again changed its logo, reimaging the vintage heart logo as more colorful and modern design with a new custom sans-serif typeface. The heart appears at the end of the airline name and is made of orange, red, and blue stripes.
The flag carrier airline of Spain, Iberia has changed its logo 8 times since its inception (1927). The recent one, designed in 2013, features three key elements of the brand: the initial of Iberia, “I”, and the seat comfort and wing’s dynamism and movement.
Because of the curve of the plane, the logo appears bulbous to the eye: the text appears to bulge toward the viewer. The capital lettering with the slightly rounded edge shows authority, solidity, and longevity with a sense of warmth and care.
35. Vietnam Airlines
In 2002, the Vietnam Airlines unveiled the current golden lotus identity to coincide with the delivery of Boeing 777 in 2003. This golden lotus represents one of the most enduring and meaningful symbols of Vietnamese people.
34. Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian is Africa’s largest airline in terms of passengers carried and revenue. In 2010, they redesigned their logo and added a new slogan ‘The New Spirit of Africa‘. The color scheme of the logo (green, yellow, red) corresponds to the countries flag, while the airline name is written in English and Amharic text.
33. Malaysia Airlines
The logo of Malaysia Airlines was refreshed in 2012. Inspired from the 1971 original logo, the wau bulan (moon kite) faces from left to right, with relatively longer tails than the previous version. The wordmark has also been updated with a new typeface and the word “airlines” is now displayed in lowercase.
32. Jet Airways
The logo of Jet Airways represents an oval sun with speed lines left by an airplane’s tail. This indescribable logo was designed by K. V. Sridhar in 1992 and dubbed as ‘flying sun’.
31. SriLankan Airlines
Launched in 1979, it is the largest airline in Sri Lanka by the number of aircraft and destinations. Its logo features a colorful peacock and the name of the airline written in an elegant typeface.
The logo is inspired by a mythical creature in Sri Lanka named Dandu Monara Yanthra, which was a flying machine in the shape of a peacock. Also, peacocks are native species in this country.
Inspired by the ancient culture of Mexico, the current logo of Aeromexico shows the head of an Aztec eagle warrior. It symbolizes leadership, courage, and fearlessness. They have been using this logo since 1998.
The largest airline in Australia, Qantas Airways, deployed its first logo in 1944. Since then, they have changed it four times, keeping the original Kangaroo symbol.
The current logo (often called ‘The Flying Kangaroo’) reflects the changing structure of the airline’s new generation aircraft: it’s sleeker and more contoured than previous versions. It was designed by Hans Hulsbosch in 2007.
28. Air New Zealand
In 2006, Air New Zealand came up with a new brand identity, new logo, and new color scheme. This new logo features Māori koru, a stylized representation of a silver fern front unfolding. Being an integral part of Māori art, Koru symbolizes new life, growth, strength, and peace.
27. Azul Brazilian Airlines
Azul airline acquired TRIP Linhas Aéreas (Brazil’s largest regional carrier) in 2012. Soon after this acquisition, they tweaked their logo, giving a lighter blue shade to the character “u”, in a nod to the TRIP logo that had “i” of a different color.
26. Aer Lingus
The flag carrier airline of Ireland, Aer Lingus transports over 12 million passengers a year. Their first logo was designed by Robert Logan, which featured a shamrock. In 1996, they gave a slanted look to Shamrock, invoking the Irish drinking stereotype. The current logo looks more like a modern-day airline logo with a wider wordmark. They kept the asymmetry and angle while softening the shape of the leaf.
Shamrock is used as a symbol of Ireland, and it is connected to Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick, who used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity.
25. British Airways
The first logo of British Airways had a wordmark that displayed ‘British” in title case, and “airways” in lower case. It didn’t look so good back then. In 1982, they took things in the right direction by giving it a more premium look.
In 1997, the airline came with a blue- and red-colored ribbon which symbolizes ‘Speedbird’, first used by Imperial Airways in 1932 and then by BOAC.
24. Cathay Dragon
The Hong Kong-based international airline, Cathay Dragon or formerly known as Dragonair, began its operation in 1985. Its previous logo featured a red dragon, which was changed in 2016. The current logo consists of a ‘brushwing’ icon that represents the bird’s wing, and the name of the airline written in English and Chinese.
Mexicana de Aviación was the biggest and flagship airline of Mexico before ceasing operations in 2010. Although still not operational, its logo gives an eye-catching appearance. It was created by a Danish agency named Design:Success. The blue color in the logo represents an eagle and symbolizes consistency and stability.
22. Air India
The Air India logo features a flying swan with the wheel of Konark sun temple inside it. The combination of red and orange color symbolizes progress and vigor, and the wheel of Konark comes from the chariot of the sun god. The airline has been using this logo since 2007.
21. Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines redesigned its logo in 2010. It portrays the world’s highest flying bird, wild goose, that can rise up to 8,850 meters. The combination of blue, red and white color gives it a professional look.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the leading airline in the Netherlands. Its logo has been changed multiple times since its inception (1919). The current logo features a crown made of a plus symbol, four blue circles and a line (from top to bottom).
The crown denotes the airline’s royal status, which was granted at KLM’s establishment. The light blue color in the logo symbolizes integrity, excellence, and the courage to perform in all adverse situations.
19. Air Canada
Designed by FutureBrand Worldwide, the Air Canada logo represents a perfect combination of red and black. It features the name of the airline in bold typeface and the national symbol of Canada, maple leaf enclosed in a circle.
18. Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines is the largest airline in the US state of Hawaii based in Honolulu. It is the oldest US carrier with no fatal accident in its entire history. Their logo represents a safe and secure element with a human Pualani face as the symbol. The design of the logo is colorful and organic, exemplifying the relaxed ‘vacation’ stereotype.
17. Aerolíneas Argentinas
Argentina’s largest airline revamped its image in 2010 to give the airline a more modern appearance. Their new logo features a condor bird and a combination of grey and light blue colors. Condor bird is usually found in Argentina and the blue color is taken from the nation’s flag.
IndiGo is a low-cost Indian airline launched in 2006. Its logo features twenty dots arranged in the shape of an aircraft at the right top of the wordmark. It has a tagline: ‘on-time, every time’ which focuses on punctuality.
The Irish airline Ryanair is known for its minimal operating costs and lower fares. Its first logo was designed in 1987. After numerous tweaks over the years, the current logo features bold white letters and a yellow symbol. This symbol represents one of the traditional Irish instruments — harp — and an angel.
14. Air China
The enterprise logo of Air China contains an artistic phoenix pattern with vivid lines. It’s a transfiguration of an English word ‘VIP’. Phoenix is believed to be ‘King of Birds’ and worshiped by the nation since ancient times. For the airline, it is a paragon of virtue.
The airline name is written in Chinese calligraphy and English. The deep red color is usually associated with anything auspicious, festive, lucky and happy in Chinese culture.
13. Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines adopted its first logo in 1959, which became a part of the company for many decades to come in its history. The logo was a crane known as the Tsurumaru. The idea of this logo came from Japanese tradition, where the crane is viewed as the symbol of prosperity, good health, and long life.
The advertising agency of the Japan Airline found that the Crane myth was all positive – it flies high for miles without getting tired (strength) and mates for life (loyalty). Moreover, the red color symbolizes happiness.
12. Swiss International Air Lines
Formed after the 2002 bankruptcy of Swissair, Swiss International Air Lines is now one of the topmost airlines all over Europe. In 2011, the airline announced its plans to enhance the brand profile, which included new corporate logos and a tagline. The aim was to make Swiss instantly recognizable as ‘the airline of Switzerland’.
11. Korean Air
The logo of Korean Air leads the misconception among people. It is very much similar to the logo of an American product Pepsi. Both logos have a swirling ‘red, white and blue’ design in a sphere-like shape.
The airline logo has the yin-yang symbol while the Pepsi logo has a slimmer white band. It’s just a plain coincidence that both the logos look so similar.
The Korean Air logo consists of a symbol named Taegeuk, which stands for ‘supreme ultimate’. As a part of the national flag, this symbol is associated with Korean tradition and represents balance in the universe.
Avianca is the world’s second oldest airline after KLM. After merging with TACA in 2009, they needed a new visual identity that can reflect the heritage and legacy of both Avianca and TACA, while also portraying the new pan-Latin American Aviance.
The new identity (including logo) was built on the symbolic power of Condor. Condor is the largest flying land bird in the Western Hemisphere, and now it’s associated with Avianca in a modern way that figuratively links, North, Central, and South America.
9. Delta Air Lines
Since 1924, Delta’s logo has been changed 20 times. The main design is taken from the Greek letter delta, and it recalls the origin of the airline in the Mississippi Delta.
The current logo, often called a three-dimensional red widget, was launched in 2007. It’s the simplest, most recognizable representation of the brand: the all-uppercase and all-red symbol speak with a respectful, honest and direct language.
8. Garuda Indonesia
In 2009, Garuda Indonesia launched a new branding initiative through a new spin of the idea known as ‘nature’s wing’. This graphic of this nature wing was inspired by the wave ripples upon the water (aqua shades) and the wings of tropical birds (blue shades).
The name of the airline is written in the left of the logo in Myriad Pro font. Overall, the aim of the logo is to capture the spirit of friendliness and professionalism of Indonesia.
7. American Airlines
In 2013, American Airlines launched a new rebranding and marketing campaign, which included a new logo replacing the one used since 1967. This new logo gave a more universal and contemporary feel to the classic design.
Since the new design failed to meet the threshold of originality, it was not eligible for copyright protection. Thus, the logo is in the public domain.
6. Gulf Air
Gulf Air is the main airline of Bahrain. Its current logo (recently changed in 2018) retains the heritage and elegance of the brand throughout the last few decades. It consists of a landing falcon and the airline name written in Arabic and English typographic forms.
The falcon represents the corporate identity, traditional Arabian values, and bold and modern entrepreneurial principles. Overall, the logo is designed to be a prominent and powerful icon for a new era.
5. Fiji Airways
Fiji Airways, formerly known as Air Pacific, was rebranded in 2013. The new handcrafted symbol represents a simple and distinctive design that makes it stand apart from the cold, corporate competition.
The largest German airline, Lufthansa began its commercial operation in 1955. Since then, the airline has changed its logo several times. What hasn’t changed in the logo is ‘flying crane’.
The crane logo is displayed in a circle and Helvetica is used as the main typeface. Although the current logo is not much different than old ones, they made icon and text relatively slim to give a modern look.
3. Qatar Airways
As the name suggests, it is the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar. Its current logo consists of a burgundy oryx (the national animal of Qatar) cleverly presented on grey background. The Arabic letters spell out ‘AI Qataria’ in a smaller typeface, while the airline’s name is written in English.
2. Singapore Airlines
The logo of Singapore Airlines is a silver kris bird. It has remained unchanged since the airlines’ inception. However, the stripes and logotype did undergo a minor tweak in 1987.
The keris — a dagger from Southeast Asia featured in the regions folklore and mythology — is a key element in Singapore Airlines’ branding, such as the KrisWorld entertainment system and the SilverKris lounge.
Dubai-based airline Emirates released its first set of commercials in the 1990s with the slogan So be good to yourself, Fly Emirates. Its current logo is a subtle revision of the original, which was designed by Negus & Negus Associates in 1985.
The logo consists of a name written in scared Arabic calligraphic lettering and the company’s name written in English below it. The white color symbolizes elegance, purity, and nobility, while the eye-catching red color stands for passion, self-confidence, and leadership.