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Alaska Shows Commitment to Racial Equality with New Aircraft Livery

Alaska Shows Commitment to Racial Equality with New Aircraft Livery
Joe Cortez

Alaska Airlines and the United Negro College Fund are launching a partnership with a new aircraft livery. Designed alongside the airline’s Black Employees, Allies and Advocates group, the paint job will demonstrate the carrier’s “belief in education as the great equalizer and as a critical component of creating sustainable racial equity.”

Alaska Airlines is demonstrating their commitment to racial equality with a new livery designed by their black employee group. In a press release, the Seattle-based carrier is launching the aircraft in celebration of a new partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

Aircraft Celebrates “Education as the Great Equalizer”

The aircraft – a Boeing 737-900ER – features the profiles of 14 children, grandchildren and mentees of Alaska employees, as designed with the company’s Black Employees, Allies and Advocates group. Its inaugural flight departed on April 27, 2021, flying from Seattle to Washington, D.C.

Flyers who are booked on the special aircraft will not only get a greeting explaining the vision and purpose of the aircraft, but also get access to digital resources about the initiative. This includes bios of the children featured on the aircraft, and information on the UNCF and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The design is intended to show Alaska’s “belief in education as the great equalizer and as a critical component of creating sustainable racial equity.”

The aircraft is part of a bigger alliance between Alaska and the UNCF, which provides scholarships for under-represented students seeking higher education. The airline will commit 10 million miles to fly students to tour HBCUs, as well as setting up a scholarship fund to help students get a college education.

“As a company, we know we are not yet where we need to be when it comes to diversity, but we are inspired and guided by our value to do the right thing,” Ben Minicucci, chief executive of Alaska Airlines, said in a press release. “With this aircraft, we are doing the right thing by amplifying the conversation around education, equity and belonging and taking it to the skies.”

Commitment to Diversity Alaska’s Latest Social Endeavor

Alaska’s commitment to diversity and the UNCF is the airline’s latest move to align themselves with social issues. On April 21, 2021, the carrier announced a pathway towards reduced waste and water by 2025, and net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

View Comments (10)


  1. Tack

    April 29, 2021 at 9:34 am

    This is being discussed in the AS forum. I will reiterate my comments made there as an AS employee of 36 years, since retired. I hope that this aircraft really does reflect their Boardroom mentality. However, during my tenure there, AS was/is a company that is driven by marketing. They’ve never missed a chance to leverage a position. Internally they are a much different company than what they project externally. Their aggressiveness toward their unions, which fight for equality for employees from all walks of life, is my data point. As a partner in a black owned business, I’m hopeful that along with painting jets and patting themselves on the back, that they also begin to search out black and minority owned businesses and give them an opportunity to provide services to AS. Thus expanding their vendor pool and opening doors for those minority run companies that might otherwise be overlooked. This is something that I believe not only airlines, but other companies should focus on. Since aircraft paint lasts about 7-10 years, lets see where AS is then, when this jet needs a new coat.

  2. philemer

    April 29, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    Painting a plane gives them no cred in my book. Agree with commenter above.

  3. Marine2531

    April 30, 2021 at 7:07 am

    “However, during my tenure there, AS was/is a company that is driven by marketing. They’ve never missed a chance to leverage a position”

    Not for nothing, this is how marketing works. Look at all the companies that “Stand With Group X.” What have they actually done besides stand with them? How have they truly tried to affect change? Where’s that case study? This is about putting butts in seats, nothing more. As long as profits rule the day, it will never change.

  4. deadmoneywalking

    April 30, 2021 at 11:57 am

    So who got cancelled? Didn’t there used to be a Native face on the plane?

  5. Iam Jetlagged

    April 30, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    I wonder if Brad (recently former CEO) would have been on the platform for this monstrosity. Alaska is already an incredible advocate for all race and minorities; so they really don’t need to rip of the band-aid to show the wound.

  6. davewolatz

    April 30, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Great job cropping the picture of the plane with the new livery. The tail of the plane looks awesome.

  7. arjaok

    April 30, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    Meanwhile the commenters over at viewfromthewing probably see this as worse than the holocaust.

  8. arcticflier

    April 30, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    “Where all the White Women at?”

    -Blazing Saddles

    Is that plane painted with only POC?
    Personally, I would rather see AS focus on Alaska Native Disparities.

  9. Jostgarden

    May 2, 2021 at 11:09 am


  10. strickerj

    May 3, 2021 at 6:04 am

    I’m in agreement with the sentiment that this is just a feel-good marketing stunt that will make no real difference. Also concur that Alaska Airlines, if anything, should focus on the natives, a demographic also very much in need of support.

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