Airbus A380 special livery history: From Year of Zayed to Real Madrid — in pictures

We look back at the paint jobs of Emirates and Etihad on the superjumbo which is soon to end production

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The Airbus A380 has had many colourful moments during its years flying over the UAE, including fly-bys of Louvre Abu Dhabi and the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

But it has also injected some extra colour into skies all over the world with its array of special liveries designed to mark important local themes and occasions.

They won't be lasting forever, though, after Airbus announced that it is to end production of the A380 by 2021.

Not before Emirates, Airbus's best customer, takes 14 more of the world's largest passenger plane of which it has 108 already in its fleet, so there could be a few more special liveries to come.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates, said the A380 is a "differentiator" for Emirates and the aircraft "will remain a pillar" of its fleet until the 2030s.

It hasn't just been Emirates that has taken paint jobs to a new level in the UAE, with Etihad also getting in on the act.

We have seen the Year of Zayed livery on 10 Emirates aircraft — the first of which was unveiled in November 2017 on the fuselage of Emirates' 100th A380.

Football has been a regular theme as well due to Emirates' sponsorship deals with a host of top European clubs, including Real Madrid and AC Milan.

The Dubai carrier also became the title sponsor for the FA Cup — the world's oldest football cup competition — and subsequently rolled out a dedicated A380 livery.

In 2015, Emirates took the fight against illegal wildlife trade to the skies by unveiling two of its A380 jets dressed in livery depicting threatened animals.

Etihad meanwhile emblazoned planes with a special branded livery to tie in with China's 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in 2017.

According to Emirates, aircraft appearance can affect the operating and technical performance of the plane. A good paint job can also help reduce fuel burn.

It carries out its paint work at the Emirates Aircraft Appearance Centre, the world’s largest aircraft painting facility owned by an airline.


The Airbus A380 through the years