white small airplane

Have you noticed that the majority of private jets are white?

Well, they are.
Matterhorn White. Ring a bell? Perhaps not – though this is the name of the specific shade of white, termed so after the snow draped mountain of the Alps, laying between Switzerland and Italy.

Cast your eyes upon any runway, globally, and you will find the majority of aircraft before you, from intercontinental giants to island hopping two seaters, are white. Matterhorn White, to be exact.

Aircraft, private and otherwise, are not typically produced baring this snowy pigment. Private jets in particular are predominantly green – this is the undercoat of zinc phosphate primer. Theoretically, they could quite easily remain that way, but they don’t.

What is the reasoning behind this, what purpose does this serve? Read on as we briefly make our way through the main points that have led to such a seemingly uniform colour selection.

Perhaps the first logical and most obvious objective that comes to mind for the use of this choice in colour, would be that it would reflect the sun. Distinct from other colours that would absorb a higher amount of light, white is a powerful reflector, a valuable feature when soaring above the clouds, meaning a higher exposure to ultraviolet radiation. What does this mean? Well, cooler cabin temperatures for one, but this important element also helps to mitigate potential damage caused by heat to sensitive flight equipment.

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The colour white, from a safety perspective, allows for easily detection of deterioration such as dents, fissures and even leakages. Further to this, white is a fantastically visible colour, an important factor.

Another obvious benefit is that the colour white simply makes fading far less obvious in comparison with other colours – an issue that can be quite frequent when you consider the constant exposure to sun. A white canvas is also far easier to repaint and, perhaps more importantly, white allows for full advantage to be taken from a marketing perspective, allowing your jet to stand out from the crowed.

From a commercial standpoint, an owner looking to allow her or his aircraft to be chartered by others, will likely have more interest keeping a neutral exterior rather than maintaining a unique (and sometimes outlandish) paintjob. The same rings true when looking to resell a jet.

There is of course an element of psychology behind colour choice, as with most things. Different colours evoke differing reactions in us. The colour white conveys purity, simplicity, cleanliness and freshness.

Economically and environmentally speaking; the colour white obviously shows dirt clearly, which means regular cleaning. However, other than having a fantastically clean jet, this means that dirt accumulation will be lessened across the body of the aircraft, and dirt increases drag, a variable directly proportional to fuel consumption. Less dirt, less drag, less consumption, less carbon emissions.

Did you find this interesting? Do you have fast approaching travel requirements? Get in touch with the AirCM Global team, we would love to hear from you.