How many planes have American Airlines and US Airways painted?

American Airlines is taking a summer break on plane painting. Photo: American Airlines.

American Airlines is taking a summer break on plane painting. Photo: American Airlines.

I've never understood why people get so excited over an airline's paint job. After all, once you're inside you have no idea what colors your airplane is wearing. 

Nonetheless, I know some people care, so I'm passing along some information I received today from American Airlines and US Airways. American says it has already painted all of its widebody aircraft and about 45 percent of the US Airways mainline fleet. 

Let's take a look at the progress. 

Here's some more information about the paint process:

  • American can have eight paint lines running at one time.
  • Painting is happening in three places - Roswell, N.M.; Peru, Ind.; and Amarillo, Texas
  • The painting is on hold for most of the summer. Why? "Every plane in the fleet is needed for the busy summer flying season."
  • According to American, the process takes five coats of paint – a primer, the main paint, a Mica coat to protect the metal and two clear coats. (American says US Airways planes didn't have a clear coat, and "their paint didn’t hold up as well in the sun.")
  • It takes about 10 days to paint a narrowbody aircraft.
  • The final US Airways mainline plane will be painted by Summer 2016.
  • The final American narrowbody aircraft will be painted in 2017. The last to receive new paint will be some Boeing 737s. (MD-80s, which are being retired, will not get new paint, and those will be around for a couple of years as well.)
  • Other airlines use decals on their tails, but the American flag logo is painted on.

Here's a time-lapse video of a US Airways plane being painted.