"We are thrilled to celebrate the state's anniversary in such a dramatic way," said Bill MacKay, Alaska Airlines' senior vice president for the state of Alaska. "We are incredibly proud that our aircraft bear the Alaska name, and this plane will no doubt have a very special place in our hearts."
The contest will be open to every school-aged Alaskan from kindergarten through grade 12. Students can submit designs that best capture the theme of "The Spirit of Alaska," with the winning design to be reproduced on an Alaska Airlines airplane.
The promotion will formally launch in late August as the school year begins.
A dedicated Web site, www.painttheplane.com, will provide contest rules, instructions and templates required to participate. Submissions are due by Oct. 18, and the finalist will be selected by the end of the year.
The winning design will be revealed January 3, 2009, during the Alaska Statehood Gala in Anchorage marking the signing of the Declaration of Statehood. The Boeing 737-400 will be painted early in 2009 and fly for four to six years.