The art of airborne branding: How Finnair aircraft got their Moomin livery
Two Finnair A350s are flying high this year with our special 100th birthday Moomin livery. We look at the work that went into it.
The special livery is on both sides of the tail end of the two aircraft, with the characters Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden seen embracing alongside Finnair’s centenary slogan: Bringing us together since 1923. The design is clean and simple – the way we like it at Finnair – but applying new livery requires careful planning and skilled work from many different teams. You also need to move quickly so the aircraft is not out of rotation for too long.
Both the Moomin characters and the Finnair 100 slogan are made up of separate PVC-based sticker transfers that are applied to the aircraft. The design for the stickers came from the Finnair brand team working together with the Moomin Characters company. Then Finnair engineers specified the size and positioning details, as well as produced the required technical drawings and work instructions.
The self-adhesive stickers are made of special material that can withstand the vast temperature extremes aircraft are subject to. It’s not uncommon for a flight to quickly go from -60C at 40,000 feet to a ground temperature of +30°C or more.
Safety always comes first
“From the technical point of view, taping on livery is classified as an aircraft modification. This means the work needs to be reviewed in terms of airworthiness, such as its impact on the aircraft’s weight and balance. Fun fact: the Finnair 100 Moomin livery adds just under 7.5 kilograms to each aircraft,” says Janne Hotari, Technical Project Manager at Finnair.
Hotari is an experienced aircraft engineer who is responsible for managing operations with Finnair’s maintenance partner HAECO in Hong Kong, where the livery work was done.
“Based on the graphic-design template we receive from Finnair’s brand department, our aircraft-engineering specialists use AutoCAD to create technical drawings and detailed instructions. These are then presented to HAECO in what the industry refers to as an engineering order,” he says.
When it comes time to apply the stickers, the aircraft are first thoroughly washed to remove any dirt that may compromise adhesion. Then the designated parts of the fuselage are carefully measured out again before the self-adhesive stickers – in this case 26 pieces – are applied and sealed in place.
Making the most of ground time
The new livery is almost five metres high and nine metres wide. It covers such a large area that the team even needed to temporarily move the original aircraft registration marks to a different part of the fuselage. The stickers have also been trimmed to ensure the rear cargo doors are not obstructed.
“The whole process takes about two to three days. We try to schedule these kinds of livery projects within an aircraft’s usual maintenance window, so there is sufficient ground time available and no need to rush,” says Hotari.
HAECO has been providing top-notch aircraft-maintenance and engineering services to the Finnair widebody fleet for over a decade. To date, the company has completed more than 100 projects for Finnair, including base maintenance events and aircraft modifications.
“We’re currently modifying all our widebody fleet cabins with the AirLounge business class seats, as well as a completely new premium economy experience and a renewed economy class. The project includes new galleys, toilets, floor coverings and more. It’s probably the most comfortable aircraft cabin you will ever experience, so welcome aboard Finnair!” says Hotari with a smile.