Aloha Airlines has unveiled a work of
art unique in all the world—a Boeing 737-700 aircraft hand-painted by
globally recognized marine life artist Wyland.
In a traditional blessing ceremony, Aloha bestowed the name Koholalele
on the jetliner, which will go into service on May 10 between Hawaii and
the West Coast.
The name Koholalele (literally “flying or leaping whale”) honors the
humpback whale, an ancient visitor to Hawaii, considered by Hawaiians to be
a kupuna, or elder, in its own right. Koholalele also is a place name for
an area along the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island and the name of a wind
that “leaps over the land” like a flying whale.
Each of the eight aircraft in Aloha’s fleet of Next Generation Boeing
737-700 aircraft is named for a Polynesian navigator. The name Koholalele
recognizes the humpback whale as one of the great navigators of the ocean.
Wyland’s design, which spans the 102-foot length of the plane, includes
approximately life-size depictions of humpback whales, bottle-nose
dolphins, spinner dolphins, tiger sharks, Hawaiian monk seals and green sea
turtles as well as Hawaiian reef fish and a Laysan albatross.
Wyland painted the aircraft, working day and night, over a two-day
A pioneer in the environmental movement for more than 30 years, Wyland
previously painted an America’s Cup racing yacht but this is his first
plane. Back on land, the famous muralist has completed 95 of his ocean
murals and is closing in on his goal of creating the 100th of his landmark
Whaling Walls, a massive, pre-Olympics project being planned in Beijing.
Wyland founded Wyland Galleries in 1978 and it is estimated that there
are 400,000 collectors of his art in 70 countries. More than 1 billion
people in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania see Wyland’s art each
year, and perhaps more than any other artist, Wyland has raised the
planet’s environmental consciousness with regard to the oceans and their
Now in its 61st year of service to Hawaii, Aloha Airlines undertook the
project as a symbol of the community’s commitment to preserving the ocean
“Since 1946, Aloha Airlines has proudly served the Islands, and
graciously helped share Hawaii’s beauty, culture and spirit of Aloha with
the world,” said David A. Banmiller, Aloha’s president and chief executive
officer. “Over the years, Aloha has looked beyond the business of flying to
recognize the importance of giving back to our community, and preserving
the many things that make Hawaii so special. The 3,500 men and women of
Aloha Airlines care about the well-being of our home state, as well as the
beauty of the natural land and sea environment we enjoy so much.”
“Nothing is as elemental to an island state as the ocean, which
surrounds us, nourishes us and provides recreation and inspiration,” said
Wyland, a surfing and diving enthusiast who lives on the North Shore of
Oahu. “We urge everyone to join in efforts to protect and preserve Hawaii’s
irreplaceable marine life.”
With this new partnership, symbolized by this specially designed
airplane, Aloha Airlines will help promote the mission of the Wyland
Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and
preserving the world’s oceans, waterways, and marine life. The foundation
encourages environmental awareness through education programs, life-size
public arts projects, and community events.