Alaska Airline’s iconic “Salmon Thirty Salmon” will soon be a memory. The airline confirmed on Monday that its custom Boeing 737 painted to look like an 129-foot-long Alaska king salmon, is going to get a new look – and it will be cultural, rather than fishy.
Tim Thompson, director of public relations and community marketing for the airline, told the Alaska Beacon that the plane will be painted over after a final ceremonial flight on April 17.
That will be Flight 65, the daily Southeast Alaska “milk run” that travels from Seattle to Anchorage with stops in Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell and Juneau along the way. Flight 65 unfortunately does not stop in Sitka, for residents here who would like a last look.
The salmon-painted plane has been in the Alaska Airlines fleet since 2005, when the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute funded the repainting of an aircraft as part of a promotional campaign for Alaska salmon.
The flying salmon was so popular that the aircraft was repainted with a new salmon design six years later, with the airline fronting the cost.
Alaska Airlines says that the yet-to-be-announced replacement will be a new way “to honor the culture and history of our namesake state and our connection to communities across the West Coast.”
Fans of the current design have launched an online petition in an attempt to convince the airline to keep it.
The name “Salmon Thirty Salmon” is actually older than the first painted jet. The nickname came from a 1987 incident in Juneau when an Alaska Airlines jet was struck by a salmon dropped by a bald eagle.