British Airways World Tails: The most controversial rebranding?

So 13.4 billion years ago the Big Bang exploded and created… ok, we don’t need this part. In the mid-late 1990s, British Airways was aiming to be a more global airline, without showing too much of the British feel that the Landor livery provided.

They decided to contract artists from around the world to create tails to represent their respective countries BTW where is the World Tail of Brazil? I want my country too!. They initially came up with 15 different designs, which would climb to a total of 35 different designs (including Deutsche BA and Air Liberté schemes and including the Chatham Dockyard design) (Yes, I counted).

The project was officially unvailed in 1997, however by 1996, a reasonable number of arcraft were seen wearing a different Landor livery with a lowered belly and the titles below the windowline (titles below windowline didn’t affect the 747s), as shown:

Compare with the normal Landor livery

The new schemes have recieved a lot of feedback, both positively and mostly negatively, especially when Margaret Thatcher famously covered the tail of a 747 model, shown in the video below

With such controversy, BA decided to abandon the project in 1999, and all aircraft which hadn’t been repainted would recieve the Chatham Dockyard scheme, which was supposed to originally be applied only to Concorde. However it was unclear what would happen to the aircraft that had already been repainted until 2001, when it was decided that the entire fleet would recieve the Chatham Dockyard scheme that we know and love today.

Another problem that BA faced with these new tails was Virgin Atlantic, which introduced their Silver Dream Machine livery in 1999, introducing winglets with the Union Jack and self-denominating “Britain’s Flag Carrier”, as shown

What are your thoughts on the World Tails? I personally don’t like most of them. Chelsea Rose, Waves and Cranes and Delftsblue Daybreak are some of my favourites.

Sources and Images


For those of you wondering why the topic is 3d old:
There was an issue with the shown images, and @DeerCrusher made it a PM. I fixed that, but he forgot to undo the PM 😂🤦‍♂️

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At least they never applied a world tail to the Concorde, that would have been criminal. In my opinion, the only world tail I would be content seeing today was the Chelsea Rose. The others were all dreadful in my opinion.

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ChAtHaM dOcKyArD iS a wOrLd tAiL

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So, in theory the World Tail’s program is still going…with one livery

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I consider it a British (Bruhtish) tail.

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If it wasn’t for the world tails the Landor livery might’ve stayed for longer… 😑

I didn’t like the world tails at all. They didn’t fit the airline at all.


British Airways showing the people of Britain the British Empire…in aircraft tails

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The rebrand was probably the end of British Airways’ golden era. When they used to be the worlds favourite airline and not a long haul Ryanair.

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This kind of looks like the etihad tail IMO


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