The Smurfs battle Art Nouveau for Brussels Airlines latest ‘Icon’ livery design

European flag carrier Brussels Airlines may now be part of the Lufthansa Group, but has no plans to lose its local heritage. The airline is already a proud ambassador of Belgium and really carries what it describes as ‘belgitude’ in its heart and this is exemplified by its Icon series which has already seen four of its Airbus A320 short-haul fleet painted in amazing special liveries.

Now the airline is finalising the selection of its latest fifth member of its ‘Icon’ fleet and is turning to the general public to have a final say on the final design. Having already called on its customers and fans to design the fifth Belgian icon in its series of special planes dedicated to famous Belgians or Belgian culture, the airline has reduced 1415 entries to final two designs.

After selecting a final shortlist, a jury has now chosen two finalists, which are being put to a public vote. Anyone can cast their vote until 24-September-2017. The winning design will be turned into a special livery plane to be unveiled next March and joining the existing fleet of Tintin, Magritte, the Belgian Red Devils and Tomorrowland which are already displayed proudly on Airbus A320s as Belgian Icons.

The airline says it “received an overwhelming number” of ideas and designs “which represent what Belgium truly stands for” dedicated to famous Belgians or Belgian culture. From designs of dancing chicory and the hair of Belgian Red Devil Mario Fellaini, the most popular ideas were related to Belgian comics (the Smurfs, Marsupilami, Lucky Luke, Le Chat,..), music (Toots Thielemans, the Saxophone, Jacques Brel,…) and food (chocolate, fries, waffles,…). Ideas were submitted not only by Belgians, but also by fans from France, Germany, Uganda and even Lebanon and Colombia.

After considering among other criteria, the international character, the uniqueness of the designs and if the icon is a good ambassador for Belgium, the jury, consisting of Tomorrowland general manager Dave Sips; Olympic champion Olivia Borlée; CEO of Pairi Daiza Eric Domb; CEO and artistic director of BOZAR Paul Dujardin; producer and musician Netsky; and Belgian star chef Yves Mattagne together with Brussels Airlines representatives, including CEO Bernard Gustin, narrowed it down to just two entries: The Smurfs by Marta Mascellani and Art Nouveau/Horta by Ahmet Sefer.

“I’m happy to see that we have two such different ideas competing for first place. It was not an easy choice because there were so many good ideas and designs and Belgium has many icons that deserve to be honoured. Both the Smurfs and Art Nouveau are known worldwide and help put Belgium on the map. I am very curious to see what the public will choose,” says Bernard Gustin, chief executive officer, Brussels Airlines.

From now until 24-September-2017 anybody can vote for their favourite design at Brussels Airlines’ Belgian Icon. Next to eternal fame, the winner will get to follow the entire design process and the creation of the Belgian Icon behind the scenes. Furthermore, they will be on the front row during the big reveal event and will fly on its maiden voyage as the plane is presented to the public in March 2018.