Rossiya's flying Amur tiger livery...
The striking Amur Tiger face on the nose of the Rossiya 747
Liveries don’t get more striking that this tiger face painted onto the nose of a Rossiya Airlines Boeing 747.
Designed to highlight the plight of the world’s endangered species – and specifically here the Amur Tiger – a subspecies of the Siberian or Manchurian Tigers, the livery is in conjunction with the Amur Tiger Center.
The livery first appeared in June 2015 on the front of what was then a Transaero Airlines aircraft, but airlines demise in October 2015 put the survival of the livery in doubt. But Rossiya Airlines – a wholly owned subsidiary of Aeroflot took on all of the airline’s 747’s and has decided to keep the flying tiger on its jumbo registered EI-XLD.
The Amur tiger is the most northerly subspecies of a tiger (also known as the Siberian or North Chinese tiger). Once found throughout Russia’s Far East, northern China and the Korean Peninsula, some 95% of the world’s population of the tigers are found in Russia – concentrated in the Primorsky Krai and the southern Khabarovsk Krai. The population plummeted to just 40 animals in the 1940’s, but now seems stable at around 540. The greatest threat to the Amur tiger’s survival is unsurprisingly humans, with poaching causing around 80% of their deaths.
Rossiya's general livery since 2016 has a 'turbine blade motif, which gets denser towards the tail to 'create a sense of flight and continual motion', apparently.
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The airline is wholly owned by the Russian government, was formed in 1992, and is based at St Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport. A few years back the Russian government restructured the airline industry and merged Rossiya with Aeroflot and several domestic airlines. The company now operates from St Petersburg to 15 European cities, plus to Russia's south, near and far east.
A few facts: Rossiya has a fleet of 61 all western built aircraft - including Boeing 737's, 747's and 777's, and Airbus A319s and A320s, with an average age of 12.8 years and operates routes to 80 cities in 15 countries.
The aircraft sporting tiger nose is scheduled on the Moscow to Simpheropol, Punta-Cana, Phuket, Bangkok and Goa routes. See more of the ‘Tigrolet’, as Rossiya calls it, at Rossiya Airlines 'Tigerlet'
One more thing...Rossiya's 747 has a rival - turning heads at the February 2018 Singapore Airshow is the prototype of the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer's E190-E2. Knowing that as a prototype the aircraft will be parked up at various air shows in the course of its duties, Embraer has gone a step further and painted a cockpit windows cover to complete the Tiger face.
The tiger faced E2 prototype, as designed by a junior technician employee
The tiger face joins another Embraer E2 aircraft that has been painted with the face of an eagle. Chief executive of Commercial Aviation at Embraer John Slatterly was dissatisfied with livery proposals from outside agencies, and in fact went with the suggestion of a junior technician employed by the company - Clodoaldo Quintana.
The Golden Eagle E2 prototype having its painted visor fitted. Photo Embraer