Alaska Airlines shows off plane with new paint job showcasing diversity and inclusion

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An airline’s livery is at the heart of its brand identity, with colors and icons that define a carrier’s image for years, if not decades – like the Qantas Kangaroo, the Lufthansa Crane or the oryx that adorns the tail of Qatar Airways jets. Airlines sometimes order unique aircraft liveries to promote a specific event, anniversary, partnership, or the launch of a new type of aircraft. Today, Alaska Airlines has blazed a trail towards more inclusiveness with the unveiling of a specially painted aircraft that showcases diversity, fairness and education.

Designed in partnership with UNCF, which funds scholarships for black students to attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the eye-catching Boeing 737 is “a symbol of our commitment to education and the promotion of racial equity at Alaska Airlines. , and we hope it will inspire others. too, ”according to an airline announcement.

“As a company, we know we are not yet where we need to be when it comes to diversity, but we are inspired and guided by our value to do the right thing,” said Ben Minicucci, CEO of ‘Alaska Airlines. “With this plane, we’re doing the right thing by amplifying the conversation around education, equity and belonging and propelling it skyward.”

The aircraft is called “Our Commitment” and takes the airline’s recently defined commitments to racial equity as watchwords, including representation of racial diversity, creation of a corporate culture inclusive and public leadership by working with community organizations to foster education. and career opportunities for young people.

The jet has three inspirational quotes on its body. The first states, “The time has always come to do what is right,” and was written by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Attributed to Nelson Mandela of South Africa, the second quote states: ” Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. Signaling a call to action, Dr. Maya Angelou’s third quote emphasizes, “When you learn, teach, when you receive, give.”

Alaska Airlines requested input from the UNCF, as well as members of its own resource group of Black Employees, Allies and Defenders of the Alaska Air Group in the design. The aircraft’s base coat is jet black – a radical departure from the usual Alaskan white and blue hues. The typography and palette were specially created by Chicago-based artist Adé Hogue, who drew inspiration from the days of the civil rights movement. “At first I turned to the 60s protest posters and the form of the design slowly morphed into what you see today,” Hogue explained.

As for the series of faces that adorn each side of the plane, these are artistic renderings of 14 students connected to Alaska Airlines employees, bringing a personal touch. According to Jonny Mack, who has designed 10 of the airline’s other specially delivered jets in the past, “we knew we wanted to illustrate real people instead of generic profiles that didn’t mean anything – we decided, ‘let’s introduce real people. and have a real story to tell. Passengers will even be able to learn more about the singular jet through an information card on the personalized dossier, as well as digital resources that detail the biographies of the students whose profiles adorn its exterior.

Alaska also plans to donate one million miles per year to help students visit HBCUs for various UNCF programs, as well as career development forums and college tours. Mileage plan members can also donate their own miles to the wallet. Since UNCF became one of Alaska Airlines’ LIFT Miles partners in 2017, the airline’s customers have donated more than 13.4 million of their miles to UNCF.

Travelers can search for “Our Commitment” to take off starting tomorrow, April 27, 2021. Among its first routes will be between the airline’s hub in Seattle and Washington’s Reagan National Airport in the capital. national.

Alaska isn’t the only company in the travel industry that emphasizes diversity in its efforts to recruit not only new customers, but future employees as well. Earlier this month, United has set a goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of whom will be women and people of color. Scholarships for the program will be underwritten by United Airlines itself, as well as United Aviate Academy and JPMorgan Chase.

In February, Marriott International announced the creation and $ 20 million endowment of the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership in partnership with Howard University, one of the nation’s largest HBCUs. The center and its programming aim to help create a pipeline for more diverse leadership in the hospitality industry in the years to come.

As the United States considers its history of racial inequality as well as its continued treatment of minorities, it is hoped that more and more companies in the travel industry and beyond will begin to focus. about inclusiveness and fairness for a long time. In the meantime, travelers can rejoice in Alaska Airlines’ new jet and the message of equality it will promote across the nation’s skies.

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