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Why do modern airliners use lights to illuminate the sides of their tails and illuminate the airline's logo? Is this just done to give ground and tower controllers an easy way to differentiate between multiple jets on the ground during night ops or direct them to the appropriate gates e.g. Delta flights to Delta terminal, Qantas flight to Qantas gates, etc.?


marked as duplicate by fooot, Jan Hudec, Ralph J, mins, Simon Apr 14 '17 at 17:17

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't think it is a duplicate. This question is specifically about why we have logo lights on the vertical stabilizer, not when to turn them on. $\endgroup$ – kevin Apr 14 '17 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ @kevin the why part is also included in the question, as well as some of the answers. $\endgroup$ – fooot Apr 14 '17 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ Trivia: Airplanes didn't have Tail/Logo lights until Hugh Hefner put tail lights on the Bunny Logo of the Playboy jet. The idea caught on quickly, and many others copied it, including Donald Trump. Now most planes have logo/tail lights. $\endgroup$ – abelenky Jan 8 '18 at 16:54

There are multiple reasons.

  • First of all: Of course promotion for the airline.

  • Another reason is the visibility. Airliners have several lights and strobes (Nav lights, rotating beacon, ...) but this can be overseen. The logo light is used to see if there are any other aircraft crossing the taxiway or apron. It's just better to have a big, bright illuminated area, instead of a few small lights.

  • And ATC has also something to do with it. Many phrases regarding taxiing include airline names. For example:

    AFA739, give way to an Air Berlin A320 moving from left to right on taxiway Bravo

    ATC and the pilot can visually identify the companies name thanks to the logo lights.


I can think of a couple of reasons:

  • To allow ATC to identify an aircraft's livery
  • To promote the airline
  • To illuminate the end of the aircraft's body, so it is easier to determine, e.g. if the whole body section has crossed the runway threshold.

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