From Blue to Orange in 4 Days

Have you seen it yet? Our totally awesome orange aircraft? Just for once, the characteristic KLM-blue makes way for orange – at least in part.  Why? Because our social media fans wanted it so badly ;) I’ll tell you how we painted the aircraft and how our usually blue and white appearance was given a significant dash of orange.

On King’s Day 2015 we uploaded a picture of an orange KLM aircraft on Facebook with the question: “Should we colour orange next year?” The response was overwhelming and in simple English the answer was: “Yes!” So, here we are.

Facebook post orange airplane KLM

How do you paint a plane?

Step 1: Sticking and sanding

The Boeing 777-300 PH-BVA is brought into the hangar. Hangar 14, also known as the Painting Bay. It’s striking to note that the windscreen wipers are removed first. Apparently, orange windscreen wipers are not in the cards ;)
Because it was re-sprayed in 2015, it isn’t necessary to paint the aircraft entirely. The nose, the ‘band’ around the aircraft and just over half the body are sprayed in a new color.

[tweet text=”The sanding of a plane is done totally by hand.”]

Much like any paint job, it all starts with sanding. The sanding is done by hand. The abrasive pads cover an area of roughly 35 cm2. So it’s really specialised work.

After being sanded, the aircraft is washed and the windows and belly of the aircraft are covered to protect the existing paint layer. The wings, tyres and engines are also covered completely so that they retain their original colour. This is done meticulously – even Father Christmas would be impressed by the packing technique.

verven vliegtuig

Photo: Feike Westenbroek

Step 2: Painting

The painting process starts at the back with the ‘band’ in the colours of the Dutch national flag. Then there’s the gradient of light blue to orange, ending at the front with the orange section. The gradient is the area where the orange fades into light blue. You can see exactly what I mean in the photo below.

Marco Spuyman 2

Photo: Marco Spuyman

[tweet text=”The spraying process is carried out electrostatically, with the paint being drawn to the aircraft.”]

The spraying process is carried out electrostatically, with the paint being drawn to the aircraft. After the aircraft is completely sprayed, the paint job is touched up by hand. The entire aircraft is checked with a brush to perfect any uneven areas or mistakes. This is an incredibly time-consuming and intensive process.

Painting the 777 orange

Photo: Tom Kool

Finally, the aircraft is covered in a layer of clear coat with sparkles, making it glow in the sunshine. Shimmer and shine! When the Boeing 777-300 is sprayed with transparent clear coat the job is finished.

Step 3: Outdoors

The aircraft is unpacked and leaves the hangar for some fresh air. A maintenance flight is carried out before the aircraft is taken back into service worldwide. Not to make sure the paint sticks, but to check that all the other components are functioning properly. The first flight was a roundtrip to Stavanger on 15 June 2016.

Ton Kool 10

Photo: Tom Kool.

Facts & Figures

•    It took four days (24/7) to respray the aircraft.
•    It took 35 people to get the job done.
•    100 rolls of painter’s masking tape were used.
•    335 litres of paint were used.
•    2,000 abrasive pads were used for sanding.
•    1,000 metres of plastic sheeting were used.
•    100 dust-attracting cloths were used to remove the dust.

Tweet 34250
Photo: Menno Mennes

Ton Kool 8
Photo: Tom Kool

Posted by:   Djamilla Bogaard  | 
Join the conversation Show comments


Pimp my Plane

Bashir Muhammad Fekin

It is actually beautiful, I love it.


Beautiful !!!!!


And now tell them that you close the H14 paintbay…..


Absolutely a wonderful piece of art, it is “the livery to be”. Proud to be a Flying Dutchman.


Felt so hopeless looking for answers to my qusuoitne…sntil now.

Gary Wright

Awesome look!


It’s absolutely stunning! Well done!

Frank van der Voet

Wow – Wat een verhaal. En de foto genomen door Menno Mennes . . . uitsteekend (trouwens, ze zijn allemaal erg mooi)!


Kudos to you! I hadn’t thhgout of that!

willem GWK

leave it like this and fly to paris to say we are a Dutch airline and do not want a chicken on the tail


Hombre, el 11-M benefició a Zapatero por la increíble soberbia de Aznar, que dio instrucciones para señalar a ETA cuando todo indicaba desde el principio a Al Qaeda. Por ahí anda el orate como alma en pena, dedanreditacso a España. Menos mal que nuestro Presidente Rajoy, después de dos meses de Gobierno, ha dicho que “sabe perfectamente lo que tiene que hacer”, y la vicepresidenta ha remachado que “El Gobierno hará lo que tenga que hacer”. Como el 11-M.

Jalke de Wilde

Keep on painting KLM. This is a great way to show the world the bond between the royals and the KLM. Werkelijk koninklijk.


Really cool! I like how the dark blue band slowly fades into the colors of the Dutch flag!

David Buck

This is terrific! Can we look forward to more aircraft with this colour scheme?

Félix Maltchinski

I hope this aircraft got the new interior.




And finally kick out AF and we are done.

Glyn Fellowes

I think the whole effect is stunning and it makes the aircraft stand out from the crowd well done to all who were involved.


Shame its the last plane painted at klm. Deco team is now finished. Great to go out on such a nice project but so sad to say goodbye :(

Uta Blunck Cortez

Loved it … couldn’t be more Dutch … all your planes should look like this one!

Akbar Hayat Khan

In my opinion ,,,,The Royal People , Royal Airline was more attractive, beautiful and Graceful in its previous Style n Color … Anyone can easily distinguish between two , the old one and new one …………….

you just place the photographs beside each other ……………. in my eyes /opinion


The giant Boeing 747-400 with Royal Blue color has no comparision with this new Orange one ………. I am sorry I am not impressed with this change …..

Akbar Hayat Khan

EX-KHI/BV ( 1996 to 1999)



Thomas Scheier

Looks great and definetely will be an eye opener at any airport.
Well done KLM!


Awesome job!!!! Nice to get to know how it gets done as well! Thanks for sharing!


Absolutly an eye catcher and the colour scheme is perfect. I wouldn’t mind if al KLM planes where looking like this.


verkeerde tekst….moet staan: standing air france=klm

Robinson Cortes Cabrera

I love him!, i will always waiting for this.

S Bagchee

Looking forward to our flight to Amsterdam and then to London on 05 August. Sincerely hope that you will not change the livery in between. What is Netherlands without the orange.


Very nice, doe items stay like this?


echt super mooi alle vliegtuigen in deze kleur

Christopher Fawcett

It would be awesome to see that plane overseas! Since it is the same aircraft type (777-300ER) used for the KL757/KL758 route (AMS-PTY-AMS), would we ever see that particular beauty landing at the Tocumen International Airport? #PrettyPlease *bats eyelashes*


I really hope I get to see this bird in person — looks wonderful. Great Dutch Pride.


Thanks for the tutorial! I just bought 2 bushes and can't wait to try this! Tip *** Try adding food coloring to the water and the flower will take on that color, blue, red, etc. Fun to exriepment! ***


Absolutely fantastic – redo the whole fleet!!!!


Awesome, change the entire fleet

Henk van Schuur

All the planes should be painted so. This reflects perfect the word “Royal”

M i budy budy

Nice somethinh different no like before but the best colour it new zealand in black

Henny Festen

I love it!!

H braamhaar

Just absolutely beautiful

Ann Postma

Love it!!! Beautiful!!!

Edirlene Barbosa Carlos de Souza

Ficou muito bonito!!!


Ik vind het echt mooi!


When is the next one coming? should definitely be a new look.

A. J.

As far as i know KLM is still called royale dutch airforce but it is owned by the French. Still amazing they were willing to do this. Even more special an beautyfull.

Ulla Johannessen

Beautiful , it’ shining like a sun

Paul hofman

Saw the plane at schiphol on saturday morning. I was wondering why it was orange. Know i know

Peter Nylund

WOW . Pant the rest of them like this!!


Orange is a beautiful colour, just like the Netherlands


Love the new colours makes it more special and 100% prettyer

Gregory de-HAAN

Really Fantastic… Please fly it to Sydney-Australia for all to see, Thank You KLM..


I can imagine KLM will use this bird to fly the Dutch Olympic team to Rio de Janeiro :)


Whats the name of the music behind the video??


From Dutch national football team to KLM Wow! orange color is the color of joy and creativity. i love it.


WOW really spectacular!! Your aircraft will really be noticed in airports around the world. Congratulations on the great change


I’m sure I saw the aircraft in Schipol this morning 0830 Sunday 24th July

Cool !

Goachet Philippe

So beautiful coloours! I had the chance to capture this aircraft with a very beautiful rainbow over it before its takeoff at Schipol. I was just behind at holding point as captain of an Air France A320. See below the link for the picture:

Koi Velasquez

what is the purpose of the pink color in between the blue and orange? is there any significant meaning of the pink color?

Martin Maister

That is beautiful! I can proudly say that I flew on that exact same aircraft – though it was not orange yet.

Brian Garrett

Great paint scheme KLM! I have a 1:200 Boeing 777-300 just waiting to be assembled…was going to paint it in traditional KLM Blue…but plans have changed! What shade of orange was used?

Ron McMahon

I watched this plane fly in to YYC today – BEAUTIFUL!

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