Wow, it has been a long, long, LONG time since I did one of these. I'm not sure if I am going to remember all that wit and charm that I used to employ on these Color Scheme brackets, but I guess we're just going to have to find out, aren't we?
Today, we are headed to Africa...a continent that is at times rife with conflict and poverty, but beautiful nonetheless. I was there last year 'round this jolly time of year.
But today we will settle once and for all which African national flag carrier has the best color scheme - the winner, of course, advancing to the Final Eight.
I did some minor preliminary vetting to get our field down to 16 participants. Look, I'm one person. The day I hire somebody to manage this blog for me, then I'll go through every friggin' country, OK?
Anywho, there will be two 8 airline brackets. Seeding was determined by population size. Here we go...on to Round 1 in Bracket 1...
#1 Virgin Nigerian Airways v. #8 Tunisair: I was somewhat shocked and dismayed to see that Nigeria's national airline had collapsed in 2003 and that this UK-backed alternative was the national flag carrier. Frankly, I'm not impressed. It's the Virgin Atlantic color scheme with green highlights. You can do better, Virgin. Tunisair is unimpressive, and actually embodied every stereotype I had coming into this bracket with the impala-like creature on the tail. In this match, though, that's enough to move on. Winner: Tunisair.
#2 South African Airways v. #7 Air Senegal: I don't like it when this happens - two basically white-based liveries with crazy tail designs. I am a fan of the boomerang "S" on Air Senegal, but, still, there's too much white on there. The tail on South African Airways is very eye-friendly, but it's clear from the get-go that if they are going anywhere, it's on the strength of that and that alone. Winner: South African Airways.
#3 Sudan Airways v. #6 Air Madagascar: OK, now we are getting some interesting variety here. Unfortunately, it's too distracting. What is the deal with that sharp directional change on Sudan's fuselage? Why? The colors themselves are not necesarily problematic, but the change in direction is too distracting. Air Madagascar was surprisingly pleasant. The have the Thai model going on with the white-based scheme and rear color splash. Not bad. Winner: Air Madagascar.
#4 Royal Air Maroc v. #5 Air Algerie: This is the toughest battle yet, and it's fitting since it is the 4/5 match-up. I thought that Royal Air Maroc was a darkhorse candidate to win this because they are a fairly large and successful airline. On the other hand, I don't even know where Algeria is. Boy was I surprised to see that good-looking plane and that fancy red/white livery. This is a tough call, but I the tie-breaker is the tail design. RAM's shooting star caught my attention immediately and Air Algerie's is too cliche. Winner: RAM.
Now, for Round 2 in Bracket 1...
#2 South African Airways v. #6 Air Madagascar: What I like here about the South African jumbo is that the tail design fits perfectly into the winglet. That's classy. Is Madagascar even part of Africa? My peeps are checking into it now, until further notice, I can't advance them in the tournament. Winner: South African Airways.
#4 RAM v. #8 Tunisair: It's not that the Tunisair tail design is bad. It's just that it looks weird running up the tail like that. Sorry, but it's true. Winner: RAM.
And the Bracket Final...The winner of this match will face off with the winner of the second bracket for the honour to represent Africa in the Big, Big, BIG Dance...
#2 South African Airways v. #4 RAM: I said it once, I'll say it again. South African was going to live or die by the tail design. Unfortunately, it's death for them. Ok, it's a good design, but RAM is not a pushover. RAM has pleasant colors, a very captivating tail design, and the Arabic writing to give it that mystique. Beyond the tail design, South African is too...blah. Winner: RAM.
Now I remember why I stopped doing these - they're exhausting.
Ok, Bracket 2, Round 1...Let's roll...
#1 Ethiopian Airlines v. #8 Air Namibia: What a shocker? Namibia is another country I never would have expected to have had such impressive aircraft. This officially becomes the toughest decision yet. Ethiopian has bold lettering, which I am a big fan of. I think that the downfall of Namibia is, once again, the cliche bird figure on the fuselage. A hearty pat on the back to Namibia, though. Winner: Ethiopian Airlines.
#2 Egypt Air v. #7 Cameroon Airlines: Egypt Air is one sexy beast. It's a very compelling combination of white-based fuselage with the right highlights. And the eagle head on the tail is reminiscent of AeroMexico. Hey, remember that AeroMexico rode that to the championship. Cameroon, cute Cameroon, has interesting lettering, but again, falters due to the wow factor. What would make you look twice at that plane? Exactly. Winner: Egypt Air.
#3 Air Tanzania v. #6 Air Zimbabwe: Apparently, Zimbabwe hired the same people as the Sudanese to paint their planes. That change in direction is so god-dang annoying and distracting. Thankfully, Air Tanzania has merit and probably would have advanced in this match anyway. Zimbabwe and Sudan look more like some sort of post modern art that you would see in the Guggenheim than the official aerial envoy of their nation. Winner: Air Tanzania.
#4 Kenya Airways v. #5 Linhas Aereas Mocambique: Sorry, Kenya. You had a good idea but I can't get past the circle K. It's too, Mobil gas station. It's also a bit presumptous since there are many other countries that begin with the letter K. In fact, the whole design is presumptous, including the "Pride of Africa" painted on the fuselage. It's too bad, really, because the rest of the design is actually captivating. LAM is decent. What's most striking is the interesting take on the bird feature. Even though, in actuality, I am becoming quite bored with bird imagery. We get it, planes fly, birds fly. Get over it everyone. Winner: LAM.
Wow, far fewer upsets in Bracket 2...Let's go to Round 2...
#1 Ethiopian v. #5 LAM: It was a good, albeit short, run for LAM. This match-up was won on the lettering. The tail-designs, for me anyway, were a tie. In the end, the LAM logo on the fuselage was a little to amateurish for me. Winner: Ethiopian.
#2 Egypt Air v. #3 Air Tanzania: I don't know if I have ever had such a sudden change of heart. I have always had a soft spot for Egypt Air, but in an instant a feeling came over me telling me that Air Tanzania IS Africa. That giraffe running with the herd must have done it. Seriously, isn't wildlife what we all think of when Africa comes to our minds? Plus, look closely at the top of the tail - you can see a representation of the snowy top of Kilimanjaro. Upset city, baby! Winner: Air Tanzania.
Now, the Bracket Final...the winner takes on RAM for continental bragging rights.
#1 Ethiopian v. #3 Air Tanzania: The more I think about it, Ethiopian is the South African Airways of this bracket. Both are inherently pleasant color schemes. On the other hand, both are one-dimensional. From the get-go, the appeal of Ethiopian has been the bold lettering. That can only take you so far. Air Tanzania has that and more. Winner: Air Tanzania.
Time to decide the continental representative to the Big Dance. Who will carry Africa's hopes to the grand championship? I don't know, let's find out...
#3 Air Tanzania v. #4 RAM: In many ways, these color schemes are very similar. They both are essentially white-based. Each has a traditional tail design. In another sense, it is not surprising that we have a representative from the northern muslim part of Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. It's your typical upstate/downstate battle. How could I possibly find a winner without upsetting one entire region of the continent? I cannot, that's why it is important that I make these important critical decisions for the rest of us. I blathered earlier about the imagery of the wildlife on Air Tanzania. Along those lines, should RAM be punished for hailing from a less well known part of Africa? Probably not. But then again, it is undeniable that if you were to ask a representative sampling of people, most would point to wildlife as one of the most distinguishing features of the entire continent. That same sample would probably also point to Mount Kilimanjaro as another important African symbol. Both are featured on Air Tanzania. Seems like the Tanzanians boxed me in. Winner: Air Tanzania.
Bucket showers for everyone!