Five years ago, Delta dedicated one of its Boeing 757 aircraft to honor America's servicemen and women. The airline underscored that commitment to the U.S. military today, re-dedicating the plane with a fresh coat of paint and new logo during the first day of its annual Veterans Day event.
Known as the "Spirit of Freedom," the plane is more than an aircraft; it's a symbol of respect, said Delta's Veterans Business Resource Group vice president Kurt Robinson.
"This plane isn't your ordinary aircraft," he said. "When you see it pull up at the gate with the 'Spirit of Freedom' emblem on the front, it's a reminder of how appreciative Delta is of all service members and for all they've done for us."
The plane honors Delta's more than 10,000 employee veterans and 3,000 active duty employees — a commitment the airline takes seriously. When the plane was originally dedicated in 2012, the Secretary of Defense awarded Delta its highest honor to given to employers, the Employer Support Freedom Award.
Delta's specialty liveries only graces a handful aircraft in the airline's fleet, making this one all the more special. Originally, the aircraft's logo depicted the "Spirit of Freedom" text along with an American flag. Now emblazoned with the updated logo, the aircraft depicts logos of each U.S. military branch beneath the text.
Robinson, who is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, explained that multiple Delta groups came together to get the plane ready for its big unveiling.
"Several people submitted concept drawings of the new logo, and then we worked with Marketing to make it come to life," he said. "We painted the plane offsite to keep it a surprise, and snuck it back in for TechOps to apply the logo."
After TechOps' Veteran's Day observance, the plane will return to its regular schedule — flying to a number of domestic destinations across the U.S.