Alaska Airlines Unveils New Xáat Kwáani Special Livery
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Alaska Airlines Unveils New Xáat Kwáani Special Livery

ANCHORAGE — Alaska Airlines (AS) unveiled today Xáat Kwáani, the airline’s latest special scheme.

The new name, which means “Salmon People” in the Alaska Tlingit language, refers to the spiritual link between those who interact with the beloved salmon and all of us who benefit from their stewardship of the environment.

The new paint scheme is painted on a Boeing 737-890 registration N559AS (MSN 35178 · LN 2026) which many of you will remember for being painted in the world-famous “Salmon Thirty Salmon II” scheme that was recently phased out.

“Every time I looked at an Alaska plane, I couldn’t help but visualize the salmon being in formline, or having some sort of design that represents identity. I can’t help but look at things and see how to Indigenize them,” says Crystal Worl, an Alaska native artist who was in charge of the new special livery for Alaska Airlines.

Photo Brandon Farris/Airways

The design by Worl is a one-of-a-kind work that not only honors the salmon, but culture, artistic expression, and language of the Alaska Native and Native American people of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

“Having read about Crystal, seen her murals in Juneau and Anchorage, and knowing her love of monumental art, she came to mind when we had the opportunity to paint a very large canvas— a 737-800,” said Marilyn Romano, regional vice president in Alaska Airlines. “Only this time, instead of remaining stationary and having viewers come to the art, we will take the art everywhere this plane flies, inviting guests to learn more about Alaska Native and Native American history, art, culture, and language.”

Formline art dates back more than 2000 years and is a two-dimensional design style integral to the culture of the Tingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. Other creations by Worl include exploring the relationships and bonds that connect her people, the land, and the native animals of Alaska. Worl aims to bring attention to Indigenous culture and help to pass on ancestral values to a new generation.

“Salmon are perhaps probably the strongest beings on earth,” Worl said. “We have a great amount of respect for salmon because they’re feeding my family, clan members, community members, and Alaskans. The nutrients in their bodies feed our people, this community. It’s how our Tongass rainforest is so lush and how our animals are so big and strong. Their muscles feed our muscles and stimulate so many facets of our existence and have for thousands of years — I just hope that will remain for the next generations.”

Photo Brandon Farris/Airways

Facts About Xáat Kwáani

This Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 will be the first in any domestic airline fleet to have the name of the plane in an Alaska Native language. Xáat Kwáani took just 12 days to use 117 gallons to paint. It features four main colors: Midnight Blue, Atlas Blue, White, and Pink.

The specially painted livery will fly for a number of years through a paint system that applies a protective clear coat over the base coats. This protective coating will keep the livery looking fresh for many years.

The aircraft will enter passenger service on Friday, May 12 flying south as Alaska flight AS62, which includes stops in Worl’s hometown of Juneau before continuing on through Sitka, Ketchikan, and Seattle. Airways will be onboard this first flight and will be posting a full photo gallery of the flights.

Feature Image: Xáat Kwáani sits in the Alaska Airlines Maintenace Hangar at a special unveiling event. Photo Brandon Farris/Airways

Photography Editor
Aviation photojournalist having started with aviation photography with the 747-8F first flight and 787 flight test program. I'm usually around Boeing Field and Renton getting the latest MAX off the flight line along with the latest Boeing test flight programs. Based in Seattle, WA. United States.

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