‘Flying Salmon’ Livery Nearing Last Flight


Alaska Airlines reportedly has plans to paint over its “Salmon Thirty Salmon,” a custom Boeing 737 sporting a 129-foot-long Alaska king salmon livery. After the plane takes its final flight next month, reports indicate that the design will not be replaced with another salmon livery, but its replacement will “honor the culture and history of our namesake state and our connection to communities across the West Coast.”

However, some fans of the paint job have dubbed the plan “fishy,” taking to social media and creating a petition to convince the airline to keep the design.

Livery Background

In 2005, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute funded the repainting of an aircraft as part of a promotional campaign for Alaska salmon. The aircraft was reportedly repainted with the new design six years later.

The airline has described the livery was one of the “world’s most intricately painted” aircraft, resulting from the work of a team of about 30 painters working nearly non-stop for 24 days straight. The airline commissioned Seattle-based wildlife artist Mark Boyle to design the livery for the Boeing 737-400.

The plane was dubbed the “Salmon Thirty Salmon” in reference to a 1987 incident when an Alaska Airlines jet was struck by a salmon dropped by a bald eagle in Juneau.

The original design was painted over with the standard Alaska livery in 2011. However, the airline then painted one of its Boeing 737-800s in a second rendition, known as the Salmon Thirty Salmon II livery, in 2012.

The plane sports an image of a wild 129-foot-long Alaska king salmon, featuring fish scales on the winglets and a salmon-pink colored "Alaska" script across the fuselage. It was also produced in partnership with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to promote wild, natural and sustainable Alaskan seafood.

What’s Next

Director of Public Relations and Community Marketing Tim Thompson confirmed that the plane will be painted over after a final ceremonial flight on April 17, the Alaska Beacon reported at the end of last month.

“Alaska Airlines has a new direction for the Salmon Thirty Salmon,” said Jeremy Woodrow, Director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, by email. “ASMI helped fund the original livery but the re-paints since then have all been covered by Alaska Air. The plane still carries the Alaska Seafood logo and messaging.” 

The news first broke after an Airways Magazine photojournalist found an internal announcement on an employee site that “world’s largest flying fish” would be missed as a new livery was coming soon. The airline reportedly announced that they are “already looking for ways to honor the culture and history of our namesake state and our connection to communities across the West Coast.”

“We appreciate the love everyone has had for the Salmon-Thirty-Salmon since the first one arrived in 2005,” wrote Thompson. “Salmon is important to the people of Alaska and down the west coast.

“We look forward to unveiling an incredible new design in the coming months that celebrates both the culture and people of Alaska and our connection to the places we fly.”

Aviation enthusiasts, however, are fighting to keep the livery around. A change.org petition was created following the news and, as of Thursday (March 3), has over 1,000 signatures.

“We all knew the day would come to repaint this jet that would additionally include the new logo, but we never thought it would mean the end of Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II,” wrote petition starter Jake Welty.

“Let’s do our best to convince Alaska Airlines how much this livery means to us, the traveling public, and anyone who enjoys the taste of salmon!”


Tagged categories: aircraft; Artists; Asia Pacific; Aviation; Coatings; Color + Design; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Paint; Program/Project Management; Z-Continents

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