SWAPPING LIVERIES
published in Air NORTH Vol.52 No.1 January 2012

In the early-mid 1990s two German airliners 'swapped' colour-schemes due to separate economic and political reasons, although neither change lasted too long, giving rare opportunities to see wide-bodied airliners in liveries that still to this day, have never been repeated. Both aircraft are pictured here at Frankfurt on 29th March 1994.

As a result of decreasing loads on Lufthansa's Australian services - what was previously four weekly Boeing 747-400 rotations (2x FRA-BKK-SYD & 2x FRA-SIN-MEL-SYD) - the carrier wet-leased Condor Boeing 767-300 D-ABUC during 1994 to operate a three-times weekly Frankfurt-Sydney route via Bangkok, in what was the airline's final attempt to make their Australian services viable. The aircraft was returned to Condor in 1995, and to this day Lufthansa passenger aircraft still do not fly to Australia, the routes being maintained by fellow Star Alliance carriers. Lufthansa did subsequently fly two Lauda Air Boeing 767-300s ten years later which were used on USA services prior to the introduction of the Airbus A.330-300 fleet, however both aircraft wore the Star Alliance livery (one with a black, and one with a white fin), so this photograph shows what will likely be the only 767 ever to wear the full Lufthansa colour-scheme. D-ABUC went on to return to service with Condor, and then Thomas Cook Airlines, and now flies with TCX colours and Condor titles, and is now also fitted with winglets.

In the early 1990s international carriers serving the Chinese mainland were granted licenses on the understanding that they did not fly to the disputed island of Taiwan. This led to many carriers creating mini subsidiarys, more often with an Asia suffix, ie. British Asia Airways, KLM Asia, Swissair Asia, Japan Asia Airways etc. Lufthansa however got around the problem by painting Boeing 747-400 D-ABTD in a Condor livery to serve Taiwan - Lufthansa ceased their Taiwan route in the mid 1990s and 'TD reverted to its original Lufthansa colour-scheme shortly after. The Chinese authorities had relaxed the ruling by 2001. Condor had earlier flown two Boeing 747-200s themselves in the 1970s, but these were found to be too big for all-year-round operation and were replaced by DC-10s, the two 'Jumbos' being sold to Korean Airlines - one of these was D-ABYH which would later be shot down by Soviet fighters in 1983 - however this photograph shows the only 747-400 likely to ever fly in a Condor livery. The aircraft is still in service with Lufthansa in the carrier's standard colour-scheme.

Acknowledgements: airliners.net

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