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Southwest Airlines introduces Penguin One

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ (SEAS) celebrated 25 years of partnership today with the unveiling of the airline’s newest specialty aircraft, Penguin One— Boeing 737-7H4 N280WN (msn 32533) co-branded with images of one of SeaWorld®’s iconic animals.

Southwest and SeaWorld revealed the aircraft at a ceremony this morning at Orlando International Airport (MCO) with real penguins, Southwest and SeaWorld Employees, community members, and executives including Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment President and CEO Jim Atchison. The plane, filled with Southwest and SeaWorld employees, also made stops in two other SeaWorld cities, San Antonio and San Diego.

The partnership between the two companies dates back to 1988, which began when SeaWorld opened in San Antonio. Southwest and SeaWorld launched their partnership in a high-flying way—with the introduction of a new Boeing 737, Shamu® One!

The featured penguin species on the aircraft is a gentoo, one of the species found at SeaWorld Orlando’s new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin™. The attraction includes a first-of-its-kind family ride that transports guests into the penguins’ icy world.

This morning’s ceremony celebrated the introduction of Penguin One in a spirited way as attendees waved black-and-white pom poms, enjoyed black-and-white-themed snacks, and cheered as executives christened the aircraft while SeaWorld‘s Pete and Penny Penguin looked on.

Penguin One joins 12 other 737s in the Southwest fleet that carry a unique paint scheme: Shamu One, Shamu Two, Arizona One, California One, Colorado One, Florida One, Illinois One, Lone Star One (Texas), Maryland One, Nevada One, New Mexico Oneand Triple Crown One (unveiled in 1997).

From the “Nuts About Southwest” blog (all photos by Southwest Airlines):

We kicked off Penguin One’s debut at Orlando International Airport (MCO) with more than 500 local Employees and community leaders, along with Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly, and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment CEO, Jim Atchison (shown below). Also on hand to meet the newest member of the family were famous SeaWorld mascots Pete and Penny Penguin, Penguin One’s real life counterparts (We think we got their approval!).

Penguin One

Penguin One

We had a lot of fun with our “Tuxedo” theme, as attendees waved black and white pom-poms, snacked on black and white themed snacks, and cheered as Kelly, Atchison, Pete and Penny, and the SeaWorld Aviculturists officially christened the aircraft. The celebration may have started in Orlando, but it didn’t end there! A team made up of Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld Employees boarded Penguin One and took the party to two other SeaWorld cities—San Antonio and San Diego—to celebrate with local Employees.

Specialty Planes

Introducing Penguin One, The Newest Addition To Our SeaWorld Specialty Fleet

In 1988 when SeaWorld® opened in San Antonio, two great companies in the tourism world launched a new partnership in a high-flying way with the introduction of three co-branded 737 jets; Shamu One, born May 23, 1988; Shamu Two, born May 30, 1990; and Shamu Three, born September 7, 1990. Upon the retirement of Shamu One, we’re excited to welcome Penguin One to our fun fleet of SeaWorld specialty planes!

Penguin One Fun Facts:

  • Born: June 20, 2013
  • Hometown: Spokane, WA
  • Resides in: 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries
  • Length: 110 feet, 4 inches
  • Weight: 84,100 lbs.
  • Parents: Southwest Airlines Employees
  • Seats: 143
  • Hobbies include: Flying high, keeping Southwest Airlines’ Customers comfortable, and displaying a strong relationship between Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
  • The largest penguin on Penguin One is over 26 feet long

Painting Process Facts:

  • Penguin One is painted in seven different colors
  • Nine day paint operation (24 hours around the clock) compared to the three day turnaround for our standard paint scheme
  • 35 people over three shifts
  • 100 gallons of paint applied to the fuselage
  • The Gentoo penguins on Penguin One vary in length from 12 feet to more than 26 feet, about five to ten times the size of the average Gentoo penguin! The aircraft is also covered with a clear coat of paint to protect the design and keep Penguin One looking great for years to come.

Meet the Rest of Our Specialty Fleet

  • Shamu Two – May 30, 1990
  • Shamu Three – Sept. 7, 1990
  • Lone Star One – Nov. 7, 1990
  • Arizona One – May 23, 1994
  • Triple Crown – June 9, 1997
  • California One – Sept. 19, 1998
  • Nevada One – June 12, 1999
  • New Mexico One – Sept. 18, 2000
  • Maryland One – June 14, 2005
  • Illinois One – April 14, 2008
  • Florida One – April 23, 2010
  • Colorado One – August 22, 2012
Video and Images: Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines (see all of the logojets): AG Slide Show