Weighing in at 91,000 pounds, the world’s largest salmon landed in Anchorage Thursday to a cheering crowd of hundreds of Alaska Airlines employees and seafood industry executives. Stretching nearly 129 feet, the fish-themed Boeing 737-800 is the most intricately painted commercial aircraft in the world and celebrates the partnership of Alaska Airlines and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
The new “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II” design is nearly identical to an earlier version of the paint scheme that Alaska Airlines unveiled on a 737-400 in 2005, which was re-painted with the carrier’s traditional Eskimo livery last year. In addition to sporting the glimmering image of a wild Alaska king salmon like the original “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon,” the new design is about 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 ASMI, which promotes wild, natural and sustainable Alaska seafood.
“Today, we are proud to introduce the largest flying fish to all of Alaska and the world,” said Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines’ regional vice president of the state of Alaska. “Not only will this special plane spotlight the best, most sustainable seafood harvest in the world, it will also remind us of the important role the seafood industry has on the Alaska economy. On behalf of the 1,700 Alaska Airlines employees working in the state, we are also proud to safely fly the thousands of men and women who work in the seafood industry throughout the Last Frontier.”
Alaska Airlines flew nearly 24 million pounds of seafood last year 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 the seafood that travels from Alaska waters to markets across the United States arrives fresh—often within 24 hours. The goal is to keep seafood moving rapidly throughout its journey on Alaska Airlines and maintain a consistent temperature range from the time it leaves the water to when it arrives in stores and restaurants.
“Alaska Airlines has been a terrific partner to the Alaska seafood industry by delivering high-quality fresh seafood products to cities throughout the United States and beyond and flying employees to work throughout the year,” ASMI Executive Director Michael Cerne said. “We are thrilled to have such a beautiful flying billboard celebrating our unique partnership.”
About half of the United States’ total seafood catch comes from Alaska fisheries, according to ASMI. In addition, the state of Alaska is widely regarded as a world leader in sustainable management of its seafood resources.
“Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II” trivia
- The 129-foot-long Boeing 737-800 has a wingspan of 117 feet and a 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.
- A crew of eight worked around the clock for 27 days at Associated Painters Inc. in Oklahoma City to paint the plane.
- The plane accommodates 157 passengers and six crew members.
Beginning on Friday, the aircraft will fly passenger routes throughout Alaska Airlines’ network, connecting destinations from Hawaii to Boston and from Anchorage as far south as Mexico.
The “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II” aircraft is an original design of Mark Boyle, a Seattle-based wildlife artist who is also a recognized leader in the livery design of commercial aircraft. Boyle designed the first Salmon-Thirty-Salmon plane and has created a dozen other special paint themes for Alaska Airlines in recent years, including the Spirit of Disneyland I and II and the Spirit of Make-A-Wish planes.