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Throwback Thursday: Southwest Airlines’ Shamu One

“People give a close look to Southwest Airlines’ Shamu, a 737 painted like a killer whale,” the 1988 caption says.
“People give a close look to Southwest Airlines’ Shamu, a 737 painted like a killer whale,” the 1988 caption says.

Just in time for summer vacation, Southwest Airlines debuted its Shamu One airplane on May 23, 1988.

This throwback photo, taken by Star-Telegram photographer Dale Blackwell, was shot at Dallas Love Field as the Boeing 737-300 aircraft livery was unveiled. The plane then went on a 27-city tour to promote Sea World and its parks.

“People give a close look to Southwest Airlines’ Shamu, a 737 painted like a killer whale,” the caption read. “The plane is to show people one of Texas’ many tourist attractions, specifically Sea World in San Antonio.”

The airline also had a Shamu Two and Shamu Three liveries that debuted in 1990. Southwest eventually retired Shamu One and replaced it with Penguin One in 2013.

Southwest ended its 26-year partnership with the amusement park company in July 2014, saying it was shifting its marketing focus to local markets and its new international service. The airline had faced pressure from animal-rights activists who wanted Southwest to end its ties to SeaWorld because of the park’s captivity of killer whales.

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