The notion of flying salmon conjures up a few images for people. Some think of the majestic salmonids jumping the falls and turbulent rapids as the fish “run up” their natal rivers in the Pacific Northwest to spawn. Others envision fishmongers tossing salmon at the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle. From today on, however, I may think of salmon at 30,000 ft and at that–the biggest salmon in the world.
This morning I woke up to an advertisement or maybe it was a press release–I don’t quite remember!
Still half asleep, I peered at the television, as I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard someone mention “the largest salmon in the world.” And indeed, I caught a glimpse of a gigantic salmon painted on a plane or a rendering of a plane.
Alaska Airlines in a partnership with Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute has brought back the aerial, piscine favorite. The “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II” is no joke. Nine feet longer than its predecessor, the painted fish design on a 737-800 was unveiled this week. Stretching nearly 129 feet in total length, the fancy fish will adorn a member of Alaska Arline’s fleet of Boeing aircraft 737’s and be will be revealed later this year.
Derived from an earlier version of painted fish design, the new “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II” follows “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon,” which was unveiled in 2005. In the interim, the traditional emblem of an Eskimo adorned the aircraft. The new fish design features fish scales on the winglets and a salmon-pink colored “Alaska” script across the fuselage, making it among the world’s most intricately painted commercial airplanes in the world.
“This airplane celebrates Alaska Airlines’ unique relationship with the people and communities of Alaska and underscores our air transport commitment to the state’s seafood industry,” said Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines’ regional vice president of the state of Alaska. “Because the new design will be featured on a larger 737-800, this 91,000-pound king will boldly promote the world’s finest seafood from the Hawaiian Islands to Boston and beyond.”
To give you some idea of the volume of seafood that is flown from Alaska to destinations elsewhere in North America, just last year, the airline, based out of of Seattle, flew nearly 25 million pounds of seafood from the Frontier State to markets in Mexico, Canada, and the contiguous 48. Through rigorous training and streamlined flight schedules, airline employees manage to get fish from Alaska’s waterways to fish markets typically within 24 hours. The objective of these food handlers is to keep the fish moving fast while maintained within a constant temperature range from water to market.
“Alaska Airlines has a long history of supporting the Alaska seafood industry, and this special plane celebrates that commitment,” ASMI Executive Director Ray Riutta said. “We’re proud to partner with the state’s hometown airline.”
According to ASMI, about half of the United States’ total seafood catch comes from Alaska fisheries. In addition, the state of Alaska is widely regarded as a world leader in sustainable management of its seafood resources.