Alaska Airlines took Aztec pride to a whole new level on May 31 with the unveiling of its Aztec themed airplane at the San Diego International Airport. Alaska Airlines’ sister carrier, Horizon Air, has added the Bombardier Q400, which features the San Diego State logo and colors scarlet and black to its fleet of university themed aircrafts. SDSU is the ninth plane and first California school to join the collection alongside universities of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Boise State, Montana State, Oregon State and Washington State.
“For us it was the ties that San Diego State University has with the community,” Media Relations Manager for Alaska Airlines Bobbie Egan said. “It just made sense from a marketing perspective and also the school’s reaction was just excited and very happy to partner with us.”
The unveiling of the airplane coincides with what the airline calls a celebratory kickoff of more destinations available through Alaska Airlines from San Diego.
“Our athletics programs are riding a real high. On the academic side the university has never been better,” SDSU Chief Communications Officer Jack Beresford said. “It is really riding a wave of pride that already exists out there in the community for San Diego State, and I think it has come along at just the right time.”
A crew of eight people worked for seven days straight to paint the airplane in time for its inaugural flight. No money came from the university’s budget to pay for the plane or its painting. Alaska Airlines provided all funds and SDSU helped to create the design. The Aztec-themed airplane embodies a mutual marketing partnership that allows Alaska Airlines to benefit from the university’s strong alumnae base throughout California and SDSU to benefit from its exposure. The plane will primarily run for Horizon Air’s scheduled regional route and will not be used to transport SDSU athletic teams. Passengers flying with the airline can determine if the Aztec-themed plane will be servicing their flight departing of San Diego by tracking the plane’s tail number N414QX.