Alaska Airlines, in conjunction with Disney and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, has debuted its latest Disney special scheme. The newest version, which AirlineReporter exclusively spied a day ahead of the official launch, features popular characters from Disney-Pixar’s Cars franchise.
The aircraft was officially rolled out this morning in a ceremony at gate C-9 of Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The plane departed for Santa Ana’s John Wayne Airport due to its proximity to Disneyland. What made this flight special, other than the fact that it was the first commercial service of a new special livery, was that it was a surprise for four children on a very special holiday. Coming from as far away as Barrow, Alaska, these kids were being treated to an amazing vacation adventure from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
If there was any doubt Alaska and Disney were going to make a big deal out of this, I was blown away when I arrived at the gate.
Instead of the usual professional atmosphere and boarding lines, a podium had been set up, backdropped by the characters of Cars. Highway sign-colored balloons adorned the gate, and even the flight crew were wearing special hats.
More awesome, given the weather, were the ramp agents. They were wearing ‘Mater’s trademark tires instead of their usual headgear.
As the plane was taxiing to the gate, a representative from Disney stepped up to the podium to interview the second-most-famous resident of the fictional town of Radiator Springs, ‘Mater.
He, too, was very excited to hear that the four Make-A-Wish children and their families were coming to visit his home. He further added that he was very impressed by the his likeness on the aircraft’s tail. Overall, he maintained his reputation as a genuine and friendly tow-truck.
Mark Boyle, renown designer of special schemes and frequent contributor to Alaska’s liveries, designed this very special Disney scheme.
In interviewing him after the party, I learned not only that it took 29 days and 13.6 miles of tape to create this scheme, but that it also took 22 different shades of “rust”. Moreover, this scheme was only possible to have the level of detail shown thanks to a new technology called O3 Transfer. Think of this as an extremely-detailed temporary tattoo. The paint is printed onto a backing, matched to the areas that are in need of paint, and then stuck on. The backing is then removed, leaving a perfect painting behind. The results speak for themselves. Some good examples of this process would be Lightning’s logo and Head-lamps as well as the entirety of Luigi. The remainder of the aircraft was painted in painstaking detail using conventional airbrushing.
The flight departed on time, full of excited children and families.
Thank you to Disney, Alaska Airlines, and the Make-A-Wish foundation for making this aircraft possible, and making the dreams come true for four very special children. Alaska Airlines itself has transported over one thousand children to Disneyland on behalf of the Make-A-Wish foundation.