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This week, Southwest unveiled the newest member of its specialty aircraft fleet — Louisiana One. The Texas-based airline flew the Boeing 737-700 on Wednesday, March 7, to Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY), where the plane was greeted by Southwest employees and customers, state and local politicians and, in true NOLA-fashion, a celebration with a second line and brass band.

The livery of the plane is covered in Louisiana’s state flag — a pelican feeding three of her chicks, complete with the state’s motto: “Union, Justice, and Confidence.” Louisiana was the first state Southwest served outside of Texas. The airline is honoring the state’s 39 years of patronage with the new aircraft.

“This tribute to the Pelican State is a demonstration of our valued partnership with Southwest Airlines,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement to Southwest.  “We are honored that Louisiana One will be an ambassador for our great state flying throughout the country.”

Louisiana and Southwest have a long-standing history together — Southwest’s first inflight music performance was on its inaugural flight to New Orleans in 1979. In 2017 alone, Southwest shipped nearly 2 million pounds of crawfish and live crabs as cargo in the Pelican State.

Painting the 737 took 1,900 hours and 126 gallons of paint to complete the artist’s rendition of the state flag. The wingspan of the pelican on the fuselage is 82 feet wide, and each baby pelican is nearly five feet tall.

Southwest is the largest carrier at Louis Armstrong International (MSY) and has seen tremendous growth since arriving in 1979. Currently, MSY operates more than 50 daily nonstop Southwest departures to 21 destinations from New Orleans. And this spring, Southwest is adding three new nonstop flights to Sacramento, San Jose and Cancun.

Louisiana One joins 11 other state-themed 737s in the Southwest fleet: Arizona One, California One, Colorado One, Florida One, Illinois One, Lone Star One (Texas), Maryland One, Missouri One, Nevada One, New Mexico One and Tennessee One.

Featured image courtesy of Southwest Airlines. 

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