Photo by Heather Middleton
By M.J. Subiria Arauz
AirTran Airways and the Georgia Aquarium recently unveiled an
aircraft, which celebrates the long partnership of both entities,
said a spokesman for the airline.
Christopher White said the unveiling of Dolphin 1, a Boeing 737-700
aircraft, is part of the community's celebration of the world's
largest aquarium's $110 million dolphin exhibit entitled, "AT&T
Dolphin Tales," a gallery, theater and show.
White said Dolphin 1 is custom designed and showcases an aquatic
theme. The aircraft will be seen by millions of travelers, and serve
the airline's growing national and international network composed of
more than 70 cities, he added.
"AirTran Airways is so proud of our long partnership with Georgia
Aquarium," added Bob Fornaro, president, CEO and chairman of the
carrier. "We are excited ... and look forward to helping raise
awareness of this world-class destination in our largest hub city."
AirTran has been a presenting sponsor of the aquarium since it opened
in 2005, and Fornaro has served on the aquarium's board for some
time, explained White.
White said that Dolphin 1 was showcased on March 31, at the AirTran
Airways hangar, in Atlanta, near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
International Airport. The aircraft was introduced to AirTran's fleet
with a water-canon salute from the City of Atlanta Department of Fire
and Rescue, and music from Tri-Cities High School's marching band, he
An image of a dolphin, emblazoned on the fuselage, is 30 feet long
and more than 10 feet high, said the spokesman. Silhouettes of
dolphins have been incorporated on each engine cowling, he added.
There were various AirTran Airways and Georgia Aquarium officials
present, including Fornaro and Bernie Marcus, benefactor, CEO and
chairman of the board of the Georgia Aquarium, he said.
"AirTran's early commitment to supporting the aquarium began in 2005,
and continues to this day," said Marcus, who is also a co-founder of
Home Depot. "We're very grateful to AirTran for their ongoing support."
The aquarium's dolphin exhibit, which opened on April 2, features a
1.8-million-gallon habitat for bottlenose dolphins, according to
White. The exhibit's gallery includes a lobby with an expansive
underwater viewing window, and an 1,800-seat theater for a live
production with dolphins, actors and singers. The production also has
special effects and lighting, he said.
According to the Georgia Aquarium, it took more than two years to
create the dolphin production, and a 61-piece orchestra recorded an
original score at Sony Picture Studios in Hollywood, for the exhibit.
White said Marcus had always joked with AirTran's Fornaro about
placing a marine mammal on an aircraft, and an opportunity came along
with the dolphin exhibit.
"Bob [Fornaro] finally came through after many attempts from Bernie
[Marcus]," said White.