Alaska Airlines Unveils Unique Livery to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Statehood

A specially painted Alaska Airlines jet adorned with a Sitka high school student's winning design touched down in Sitka, Alaska, this morning, to celebrate 50 years of Alaska statehood. The unique...

A specially painted Alaska Airlines jet adorned with a Sitka high school student’s winning design touched down in Sitka, Alaska, this morning, to celebrate 50 years of Alaska statehood. The unique livery on a Boeing 737-400 aircraft dubbed the "Spirit of Alaska Statehood" was created by 16-year-old Hannah Hamberg. It features a musher and sled dog, state ferry, Native Alaskan canoe, bear and whale, along with the statement, "We’re all pulling together."

Hamberg’s design was selected from among thousands of submissions by students across Alaska in a statewide "Paint the Plane" contest. Judged by a panel of Alaskan artists and other dignitaries, the design will fly throughout Alaska Airlines’ network of 59 cities.

"This was an amazing opportunity to share Alaska’s unique heritage with people throughout the state and across the country," said Hamberg. "Growing up in a small town in Alaska, I’ve seen how Alaskans work together and help each other. This artwork is a tribute to our ancestors who helped shape Alaska over the past 50 years."

Flying from Seattle in the special aircraft were Hamberg and her parents, Barth and Mary Alice Hamberg of Sitka, Alaska State Representative Peggy Wilson and Alaska Airlines representatives. The plane and honored guests were welcomed to Hamberg’s hometown by Sitka High School students and community members.

"What better way to celebrate the first 50 years of statehood than to commemorate with a flying mural inspired by our state’s future — our children," Governor Sarah Palin said. "Hannah’s artwork summarizes the values and qualities that are uniquely Alaskan and will be cherished for generations to come."

Governor Palin supported the contest along with the Alaska Statehood Celebration Commission and the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.

Following the welcoming ceremony in Sitka, the aircraft will depart for Anchorage and other Alaska cities. The plane will be routed throughout Alaska and the West Coast to celebrate the unique role air travel plays in the everyday lives of Alaskans.

"The ‘Spirit of Alaska Statehood’ aircraft symbolizes 50 years of independence and fortitude," said Bill MacKay, Alaska Airlines’ senior vice president for the state of Alaska. "This unique plane will showcase our state’s proud heritage everywhere it flies and have a very special place in our hearts for years to come."

The aircraft received its new livery at Aviation Technical Services of Everett, Wash., where 48 Associated Painters spent 14 days completing the complicated painting process requiring 21 colors and about 160 gallons of paint.

Hamberg and 12 other finalists received a trip to Disneyland Resort for their submissions. In all, 13 trips for four to Disneyland Resort were awarded, which included round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations and park tickets.

A dedicated Web site,, highlights the top 13 student designs submitted in recognition of the state’s 50th anniversary.

Note to news media: High-resolution still images of the "Spirit of Alaska Statehood" plane are available for download from the Alaska Airlines Newsroom image gallery at

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group , together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Traditional Network Carriers (tie)" in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 North America Airline Satisfaction Study(SM). For reservations, visit For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at

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SOURCE: Alaska Airlines

CONTACT: Bobbie Egan, Media Relations, +1-206-392-5101, or Susan
Bramstedt, Director of Public Affairs, +1-907-266-7231, both of Alaska