Alaska Airlines is out to show off its partnership with the state’s multi-million dollar seafood industry in a big way, with a 91,000-pound jet freshly painted with the likeness of a giant wild king salmon.
Airline officials rolled back the doors of a huge hangar in Anchorage on Oct. 4 to reveal the Boeing 737-800, which will fly passenger routes throughout Alaska Airlines’ network, connecting destinations from Hawaii to Boston and from Anchorage to Mexico.
The Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II aircraft is an original design of Mark Boyle, a Seattle-based wildlife artist who is a recognized leader in the livery design of commercial aircraft. Boyle also designed the carrier’s first Salmon-Thirty-Salmon.
The design is nearly identical to the earlier version, unveiled in 2005, but it is nine feet longer and also features fish scales on the winglets and a salmon pink-colored Alaska script across the fuselage.
The design was produced in partnership with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, which promotes wild, natural and sustainable Alaska Seafood. ASMI shared in the cost of the paint job, which took employees of Associated Painters in Oklahoma City, Okla. 27 days, painting around the clock.
ASMI officials said earlier that the promotional value of this flying billboard was worth their investment.
Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines’ regional vice president for Alaska, said the plane spotlights the best, most sustainable seafood harvest in the world, and is a reminder of the important role the seafood industry has on the Alaska economy.
Each year the airline carries thousands of men and women who work in the seafood industry throughout Alaska.
Last year Alaska Airlines flew nearly 24 million pounds of seafood from Alaska to markets in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Streamlined flight schedules and a rigorous training program required of all airline employees who handle perishables ensures that the seafood traveling from Alaska to market arrives fresh, often within 24 hours.
Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II a next generation jet with greater fuel efficiency and greater range, noted Anthony Johnson, one of the crew who delivered the jet from Oklahoma City to Anchorage
The 129-foot jet has a wingspan of 117 feet and cruising speed of 530 mph.
Four gallons of Mylar paint was used to create an iridescent sparkle over the nearly 3,500 fish scales, which also makes the painting three dimensional. More than 90 percent of the fuselage was airbrushed with 21 unique colors to create the lifelike king salmon, airline officials said.