HERE YA GO! Love the Arizona Republic http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic//...st-newplane.jpg http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles...t-newplane.html Airline shows true colors As merger nears, AmWest, US Airways unveil planes' new look Dawn Gilbertson The Arizona Republic Aug. 23, 2005 12:00 AM Call it Extreme Makeover: the Red, White and Blue version. Employees of America West and US Airways today will get an up-close look at the patriotic new look the airlines will adopt after their upcoming merger. The paint scheme change will be most dramatic for America West employees, as the new look is similar to US Airways' current look, but with the color scheme reversed. advertisement Frequent fliers discussing the new paint job on Internet message boards Monday generally gave it good marks. On the streets in the Valley, here's what people were saying: "It looks real presidential," said Jayne Buckner of Phoenix, who said she likes the design. Ed Lopez of Litchfield Park wasn't quite as complimentary, saying the plane looked "decent. But I like America West's (planes) better. It's weird, because they were our airline." Some people flat out didn't like the makeover. "It's too plain," said Teddy Blackwell of Phoenix. "It looks like everybody else's. They should make it a fancier design." America West CEO Doug Parker and US Airways CEO Bruce Lakefield are doing the aviation version of a whistle-stop tour, shuttling the newly painted Airbus A320 to workers in hubs around the country. In one day. They start this morning at US Airways' Philadelphia hub and hit Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Las Vegas before landing in Phoenix, with a water cannon salute, tonight. Travis Christ, America West's vice president of marketing, said the goal of today's plane tour is to get employees fired up about the merger, which was announced in May. The new plane is the first significant public step the two airlines have taken together. The combined airline, to be called US Airways, will be based in Tempe and run by Parker. "They've had a lot of change over the years, at US Airways in particular," Christ said. "This is to get them excited and say, hey, this is really happening." Instead of US Airways' dark navy fuselage, the new planes will be predominantly white, with a blue belly and a red and blue stripe. The blue is not as dark as US Airways' current planes. There were concerns that US Airways' old blue would be too dark for the summer heat in Phoenix and Las Vegas. US Airways' traditional flags are still there, with some added gray squigglies meant to represent a flag waving. The logo is the same US Airways logo. America West's planes are pearl-white with turquoise and red accents. The soon-to-be merged company decided on a variation of the US Airways paint scheme, or livery, because it is keeping that airline's name. In a nod to America West's history, as well as the legacies of three airlines that make up what is now US Airways, four logos will be arranged in a small circle to the right of the cabin door. The airline is calling it a Heritage Logo. "The problem with some airline mergers is they try to pretend that none of that (past) existed," Christ said. "We can all be very proud of the places we worked." It will take years to repaint the combined fleet of 360 planes. The makeover on America West's fleet is schedule to begin in 2006. Staff writer Hal Mattern contributed to this article.