For this week’s Flashback Friday, we continue with the second installment of our Flagship plane series.
Our fourth flagship plane Nevada One was revealed on June 2, 1999. The design of the livery includes a silver star, the state flower yellow sagebrush, and the “Battle Born” banner referring to Nevada’s birth as a state during the Civil War in 1864.
The unveiling party started in Reno where Herb and Lieutenant Governor Lorraine Hunt unveiled the new 737-700 to a Wild West-themed party and then continued on to Las Vegas to a Big Band-themed party complete with swing-dancing Employees. In 1999, Las Vegas was our third largest station in terms of departures, making it fitting to show our appreciation to our Nevada Customers with a specialty plane.
Our archives contain some great photos showing the painting of Nevada One, and as you can see in the photo above, the painters use great attention to detail (and small brushes!) to get the livery just right—which explains why it usually takes about a week to paint each of our specialty planes.
New Mexico One was revealed on September 18, 2000 as a tribute to our loyal Customers in New Mexico, where we first opened our Albuquerque station in 1980 with three daily flights. By 2000, we had 60 daily departures and over 800 Employees stationed in Albuquerque.
The livery is bright canary yellow with a red sun symbol of the Zia Pueblo Indians of New Mexico that reflects the harmony of all things in the universe. Because of the importance of the symbol to the tribe, Southwest consulted the Zias on the appropriate use of the sign for the plane. The Governor of the Zia Pueblo, Vincent Pino attended the ceremony and oversaw a Zia blessing of the plane.
In the photo above, children of the Zia Tribe perform a traditional Crow dance for the blessing ceremony.
Maryland One first flew on June 14, 2005, a fitting day for our sixth flagship plane to debut as it was Flag Day, and a fitting state choice since Baltimore/Washington International Airport was the first east coast city that Southwest began flying to in 1993.
In those early days, we had eight flights to BWI, but by 2005 we were up to 164 daily nonstop departures. Today, we watch more than 230 flights depart every day.
As it was such a great day of historical significance Uncle Sam, George Washington, Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln came out to welcome Southwest’s newest specialty plane.
Maryland One has a full-body stylized rendering of the Maryland state flag, which has a checkered pattern based on the coat of arms of the Calvert family that founded the Maryland Colony. The photo above shows part of the sketch of the livery. The full image shows the flattened design of the entire plane with each block labeled with the name of the paint color. The painters would then have used this rendering to create the livery. The rendering makes it look like one big “Paint by Numbers” project! For all of our unveilings, each event is given a project name to maintain secrecy in its planning. Maryland One’s was “Project Athens,” which is why the sketch has the name “Athens 737-700.”
Next weekend we will look at our final three flagship planes: Illinois One, Florida One, and Colorado One.