DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL – Southwest Airlines is known for its blue, red and yellow planes flying across the country, but some aircraft sport paint jobs that are unique.
A dozen Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) aircraft feature state flag designs that wrap the entire aircraft. States such as Texas, Florida and California each have their own design.
There is no exact science to determine which states get their own paint job, but they usually are unveiled around significant service anniversaries. For example, Southwest unveiled Louisiana One last year after serving the Bayou State for nearly 40 years.
Once a state flag livery is completed, it becomes a permanent fixture of the Southwest fleet. It takes several days to repaint planes as some state flags are more intricate than others.
In some cases, the airline has repainted old state flag liveries that started on Boeing 737-300 aircraft onto new 737-700 planes, said Brandy King, Southwest director of External Communications.
"You’ll notice," King said, "Colorado One and Tennessee One are different from Florida One or Louisiana One, where the state flags of Florida and Louisiana had more complex designs for our paint vendors to create, which takes longer."
The company declined to disclose how much a new paint job costs. To remain cost efficient, Southwest identifies aircraft that are already in need of a new coat of paint.
Southwest is nearing the finish line in its Hawaii certification process. But since the airline usually makes state flag designs for areas where it has had long ties, it likely won't have an Aloha State livery any time soon.
"But we’d be excited to think about it in the future," King added.