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Alaska Airlines unveils SDSU Aztec plane

SAN DIEGO, Calif.

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Alaska Airlines today unveiled a specially painted Aztec plane with San Diego State University’s logo and hallmark scarlet and black colors before a crowd of cheering students, alumni, faculty and people traveling through San Diego International Airport. The unveiling of the Bombardier Q400 was timed to celebrate the start of Alaska Airlines’ new San Diego flights to Fresno, Monterey and Santa Rosa, Calif., which begin June 4 and 5.

“We’re proud to add San Diego State University’s bold colors to our fleet of university planes and especially pleased that this aircraft represents our first California school,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing. “We hope the Aztec plane will bring smiles to our passengers and be a source of pride for SDSU students, alumni and faculty for years to come as we fly it throughout our regional route network.”

Like other university-themed aircraft operated for Alaska Airlines by its sister carrier, Horizon Air, the Aztec aircraft was painted at no cost to San Diego State University.

“Eighty percent of San Diego State’s 250,000 alumni live in California, so it will be a huge source of pride for them to see the Aztec colors flying through the sky and at our local airport,” said Jim Sterk, SDSU director of intercollegiate athletics.

Following the unveiling in Terminal 1, fans, students and 15 radio contest winners will depart on the Aztec plane’s inaugural flight along the Southern California coast, and over the Coachella Valley and Salton Sea.

Aztec plane trivia:

The Bombardier Q400 has a wing span of 93 feet, 3 inches, and measures 107 feet and 9 inches in length.

The plane accommodates 76 passengers and four crew members.

With a cruising speed of 414 mph, the plane can fly at a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet.

A crew of eight people worked around the clock for seven days at Associated Painters Inc., of Spokane, Wash., to paint the plane.
The painting required 32 gallons of white paint, 10 gallons of red paint and four gallons of black paint. In addition, about 2,000 sheets of sandpaper and 10,000 yards of masking tape were also used.

The San Diego State University plane is the ninth university-themed aircraft flown by Horizon Air since 2008. Other paint themes include the universities of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, Boise State, Montana State, Oregon State and Washington State.

New San Diego – intra-California routes

In conjunction with the SDSU plane’s unveiling, Alaska Airlines is starting new nonstop daily service from San Diego to Fresno/Yosemite, Monterey and Santa Rosa/Sonoma County on June 4 and 5.

Summary of new service

San Diego-Fresno:

Start date
City pair
Departs
Arrives
Frequency

June 4
San Diego-Fresno
9:15 a.m.
10:50 a.m.
Daily

June 4
San Diego-Fresno
8:45 p.m.
10:20 p.m.
Daily

June 4
Fresno-San Diego
7:15 a.m.
8:42 a.m.
Daily

June 4
Fresno-San Diego
6:45 p.m.
8:12 p.m.
Daily

San Diego-Monterey:

Start date
City pair
Departs
Arrives
Frequency

June 4
San Diego-Monterey
6:55 p.m.
8:37 p.m.
Daily

June 5
Monterey-San Diego
7:30 a.m.
9:12 a.m.
Daily

San Diego-Santa Rosa:

Start date
City pair
Departs
Arrives
Frequency

June 5
San Diego-Santa Rosa
9:45 a.m.
11:50 a.m.
Daily

June 4
Santa Rosa-San Diego
4:25 p.m.
6:22 p.m.
Daily

All times are based on local time zones

The three new routes will be served by Horizon Air’s high-speed, twin-engine Bombardier Q400 turboprop, which is one of the most technologically advanced regional aircraft in the world. The Q400 is among the most environmentally friendly regional planes, burning 30 to 40 percent less fuel, producing an equally lower amount of emissions and generating 10 decibels less noise than comparable jets.

“Customers flying on Horizon-operated flights will enjoy free soft drinks and Starbucks coffee and the same award-winning customer service they have become accustomed to on Alaska Airlines, plus a few new amenities like Horizon’s popular A la Cart planeside baggage service and complimentary Northwest wine and microbrews for passengers 21 years and older,” Sprague said.

Along with the new intra-California routes and Aztec plane unveiling, Alaska Airlines also announced today it will operate five flights a week between San Diego and Orlando, Fla., starting Oct. 11, 2012.

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