By retro we mean back to the 1970s, when Hughes Air West served the West Coast with a fleet of bright yellow airplanes, including Boeing (BA) 727s and Douglas DC-9s.
Here is the new look airplane Spirit first flew Tuesday on a flight from Atlantic City, N.J. to Fort Lauderdale.
"This new livery perfectly matches Spirit Airlines," said CEO Ben Baldanza, in a prepared statement. "It's radically different from other airlines and it's fun, just like we are." Maybe the CEO should have said "radically different from other existing airlines."
Here is the paint scheme Hughes Air West unveiled Sept. 28, 1971.
"Spirit is bringing back the old Hughes Air West 'top banana' livery," said aviation consultant Bob Mann.
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Howard Hughes acquired San Francisco-based Air West in 1970, added his name and painted the airplanes. The airline competed with AirCal and PSA. "In September 1979 it was grounded for two months by a walkout by ticket agents, reservations handlers and office employees," according to Wikipedia.
Subsequently, Alaska (ALK) and Allegheny Airlines, later US Airways, expressed interest in buying it before Republic made a successful $38.5 million bid in 1980.