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More specifically, I have noticed that on several of the aircraft of Blue Panorama Airlines, even though they are an airline based in Italy and the Italian flag (together with the EU flag) were on each of the aircraft's tails, they all had an aircraft registration prefix of "EI", which is obviously the prefix for Ireland.

  1. Why do the flags and registration prefixes contradict?
  2. Even if there is a reason for that, why does an Italian airline have aircraft registered in Ireland?
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    $\begingroup$ Quite often airlines don't own the airplanes that they fly, they are leased from other companies or airlines and painted with the operators livery. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Dec 19 '16 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer That still doesn't explain why the Italian/EU flag was always painted next to the Irish registration; shouldn't the flag match with the registration? $\endgroup$ – user49558 Dec 19 '16 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ I don't have an answer, but as far as I know flags which are painted on aircraft are not required by the state of registry and are simply part of the paint scheme (that's the case in the USA, but I can't say for every country in the world). This would make it up to the aircraft owner/operator and may be specific to them. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Dec 19 '16 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ The flag does not have to match the registration, I agree with @Lnafziger, as far as I'm aware, there is no regulation that requires the flag painted on the aircraft to coincide with the registration. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Dec 19 '16 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ If there's a convention, which there probably is, the flag would go with the operator's country of origin, not the owner's. The international Freedoms of the air would be according to the airline's home country and what treaties they have internationally $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Dec 19 '16 at 21:19
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That's because the aircraft (some of them at least) are leased from Aerotron Ireland Ltd., an aircraft leasing company in Drogheda Ireland.

I only looked up one. It was EI-FVA. Here it shows it being registered to Aerotron on Aug 23, 2016. And here it shows it entering Blue Panorama's fleet on Dec 8, 2016.

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If you look at the Irish flag you may notice, that it is very similar to the Italian flag. This would be where your confusion comes from.

Flag of Italy

Flag of Italy

Flag of Ireland

Flag of Ireland

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