Earlier this month, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 (N568AS) showed up at Paine Field with a special livery. Although the photos showed that the airline was up to something, it wasn’t obvious how cool this special livery was going to turn out.
It is more than just about looks – it’s really about celebrating those who work for the airline. Not only does the livery sport a very sparkling tail, but also the signatures of more than 8,500 employees.
“Look closely and you will see the words “Employee Powered” by the L1 door,” said Ben Minicucci, executive vice president of operations and chief operating officer during the aircraft’s debut. “This aircraft is dedicated to you as a thank you for all you have done for this airline.”
Alaska employees gave their signatures during a special training called “Flight Path,” that was created to help everyone gain a better understanding of how Alaska and Horizon operate, as well as sharing leadership’s vision for the next five years.
An ETOPS-rated Boeing 737-800 was chosen to feature the new livery, since it is able to fly more of the airline’s route system, which will allow more employees to enjoy it.
At first glance, the livery might look simple, but it took quite a bit of effort to complete. Typically, it takes about eight days for the standard Alaska livery to be painted on a plane – this one took about 15. According to the airline, technicians began by spraying a coat of clear enamel over the entire aircraft fuselage. Then the signatures are applied using O3 Transfers, which Anthony Johnson, interior engineer and draftsmen states are, “like a tattoo in that the signatures are embedded in the paint.” A final coat of clear enamel completed the process.
Not to be left out, Horizon will also get a special “Employee Powered” livery on a Bombardier Q400 early in 2014.
For Alaska employees, the biggest challenge might be tracking down their name. Have no worries, the airline thought ahead and is providing a tool which will allow workers to find the location of their name.