Throwback Thursday // 45 Years of Fleetwide Branding
By: Marie F., Delta Archivist, Atlanta
Did you know? It’s been 45 years since we announced a “new and exciting paint program” to standardize the branding of our entire jet fleet. Prior to 1968, each of our jet types had a different look, as you can see in this 1965 aerial photo of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, showing Convair 880 and Douglas DC-8 and DC-9 jets at our gates.
Our new paint design was based on the style of our DC-8-51 aircraft, which we had introduced in Spring 1962. The Delta “widget” logo was painted on the fuselage, engine pods and tail. The widget slanted slightly to the rear to give a visual impression of speed and motion. The words “Air Lines” were eliminated from “Delta Air Lines” on the sides of our planes to increase the streamlined look.
Since the repainting was scheduled during normal maintenance overhaul cycles, it took about 12 to 18 months for our fleet to be repainted. The new look became known as the classic Delta widget aircraft livery. It lasted for almost 30 years and was our longest-wearing paint scheme until replaced in 1997.