Painting the Airbus A380: World’s Largest Passenger Aircraft

Wonderful Facts About Painting the ANA A380 Flying Honu

We know that an airplane inherits its glossy look thanks to the carefully furnished paint on its exterior. The Airbus A380 painting process is no exception to the usual painting process, but there are some amazing facts about this aircraft.

How Many Liters of Paint Do We Need? 

How many liters did you purchase the last time when you painted your house? 50 liters or maybe less! If you are given the chance to paint an A380, you will run out of paint for sure! According to Airbus a paint job in an A380 will require 3,600 liters of paint (nearly 1,000 gallons), it’s insane, right! This much paint will cover 3,600 m2 of the outer skin of the aircraft. 

Will the Paint Add Weight to the Airplane? 

A paint layer with a thickness of 0.2 mm on an A380can add a weight up to 650 kg (1,433 lbs). Hence, more layers mean more weight. When painting an aircraft we use three coats: primer, base coat, and clear coat. Each of these coats add weight to the aircraft. The base coat is the coat that gives colors to an aircraft; if we have a design with multiple colors, you will probably will have to use multiple paint coatings.

Weight added due to multiple coats is a main driving factor behind painting the aircraft with white color. (Add a link to this article ‘A World Full of White Birds|Unveiling the Reasons Behind Painting Airplanes in White’ as a hyperlink to the italicized words.)  

How Much Time Will it Take for the Whole Paint Job? 

The whole process is usually completed in one week to two weeks. The exact time depends mainly on the size of the aircraft and the type of design. Smaller, narrow-body airplanes may take up to one week while wide-bodies may take up to two weeks. Designs with tiny details take longer than normal paintings as painters have to do finishing with paintbrushes by hand. All Nippon Airlines (ANA) wanted to have a special design on their superjumbo A380, named “flying Honu”. According to, ANA A380 paint is the most complex paint job ever done by Airbus. It took almost 21 days and 8,000 man-hours to give this interesting look to the jumbo airplane. 

According to Ralph Maurer, head of the paint center in Hamburg, they have used 16 colors and 930 stencils to paint the design, where a usual paint job may require only 150 stencils. He further explains that the reason for using many stencils is, painting the whole design, layer after layer without the use of any decals. 

Will it Cost Millions to Paint an A380? 

Not millions, but it costs a lot! 

The cost incurred with painting an aircraft depends mainly on the size of the aircraft and the design we want to paint. A complex design costs more compared to a simple design. Generally, it will cost something around $200,000 to paint a wide-body aircraft. However, in some special scenarios like the ANA A380 paintwork, Airbus might have charged more!

Keywords: Airbus A380 painting, A380 paint weight, ANA A380 paint, Airbus A380 painting process. 

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