Brussels Airlines and design studio Moulinsart have unveiled an Airbus A320 with a special theme livery and interior bulkheads inspired by the Belgian cartoon character Tintin.
Both Belgian companies have worked for several months in secret on the project, based on the original drawings by the hand of Belgian author and illustrator Hergé.
At an unveiling ceremony at Brussels Airport on March 16, Brussels Airlines and Moulinsart presented the aircraft in its new Tintin livery.
The livery makes the aircraft look like a 37-meter long black shark, based on Professor Calculus’ shark submarine from the Tintin adventure, ‘Red Rackham’s Treasure’.
Brussels Airlines has named the aircraft ‘Rackham’.
On its fuselage is the Twitter handle #SNRackham (‘SN’ is Brussels Airlines’ flight code) and the A320’s fuselage also bears the slogan “We fly you to the home of Tintin”.
As Belgium’s flag carrier, Brussels Airlines already promotes Belgian gastronomy with its ‘Belgian Star Chefs’ in-flight meal program.
It also offers a large number of Belgian products on board its flights and has partnered with the Belgian national soccer team The Red Devils (at least two of Brussels Airlines’ aircraft, an A330 and an A319, are painted in a ‘Belgian Red Devils theme livery).
Brussels Airlines also partners with Tomorrowland, which it says is the world’s largest music festival, and has painted an Airbus A330 in a special Tomorrowland livery.
Tintin is a historical Belgian comic-book character created by Hergé who travels the world on adventurous quests. According to Brussels Airlines, the legacy of Belgian cartoonist Hergé has never been translated on to the fuselage of an aircraft until now.
According to the airline, Hergé himself was fascinated by aircraft: they are the most used means of transportation in the Tintin oeuvre and they were always drawn with great technical precision.
For the painting of the A320, Brussels Airlines worked with aircraft paint artist Andre Eisele, who had the task of adapting the perspective of the drawings prepared by Moulinsart’s graphic designers to the unusual curves of an aircraft fuselage.
The reason for doing this was to get as close to the original shark submarine design as possible.
With Eisele working with Brussels Airlines maintenance technicians to paint the aircraft, the entire paint job took 1,500 man hours in total.
After the unveiling on the morning of March 16, Rackham operated its maiden voyage in its new colors, a 1 hour and 45 minutes flight to Toulouse.
Spotters, aviation enthusiasts and Tintin fans can follow the whereabouts of the aircraft on www.brusselsairlines.com and are invited to share their pictures tagged with #SNRackham.
The special Tintin livery will remain on the A320 until 2019.