Incheon Airport’s Aviation Fun Facts #15 : Why are Most Airplanes White?

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There’s lots to see at Incheon Airport. One of the best sights are watching the different airplanes take off and land through the large floor-to-ceiling windows. But wait a minute. Have you ever stopped to consider why almost all the airplanes are white? Sure, certain airlines have their trademark colors, but they’re typically limited to just a little splash on the top or on the tail. The rest of the plane is mostly white.

Today’s edition of Incheon Airport’s Aviation Fun Facts is about exactly that. Why are most airplanes white? The answer is actually based a lot on science and logic. Let’s dive in to discover the reasons why!☺

Q. Why are most planes white?
A. White airplanes are more economical.

“They save more on fuel!”

Airplanes typically boast a weight of 400 tons, able to seat up to 600 people. As heavy as they are, airplanes require a lot of fuel to operate. Did you know 247 liters of paint are needed to paint your average airplane? Even more paint would be needed to add different colors, making the plane that much heavier. White paint is most economical, and airplanes are designed to cut down on even one kilogram of unnecessary weight to save on fuel costs.

“They’re easier to maintain!”

White airplanes also help save on maintenance costs. Dark colored paints tend to corrode and oxidize faster than white paint. This is why white paint is more economical and efficient because they require less paint touch-ups. When it comes time to sell, white airplanes tend to not require a mass-scale repaint job, making them a better choice.

Q. Why are most airplanes white?
A. White airplanes are safer.

“White airplanes tend to be stronger against heat!”

Do you find yourself instinctively avoiding dark colors in the scorching hot summer? There’s actually a scientific reason for this. Dark colors tend to absorb heat, while light colors tend to reflect heat. The same science applies for airplanes. White airplanes reflect the sun’s heat, helping to keep airplane parts, engine, and other synthetic materials cooler. This also helps fight temperature increases inside the cabin.

“White airplanes are easier to see!”

White contrasts sharply with other darker colors, making it a color that is easy to spot. Any corrosion, fissures, or dents are easier to spot on a white airplane. In cases of an accident, white airplanes are far easier to spot against the night sky or the dark ocean. There has also been research showing white airplanes tend to run into less birds compared to airplanes of different colors.

Today we shared with you the aviation fun fact of why most airplanes are white. What did you think? We hope this bit of knowledge will add to the pleasure of plane-watching at Incheon Airport! We’ll be back with more fun and useful information next time! ☺

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