Southwest Airlines recently added a very special new plane to its fleet—a sleek Boeing 737 named Colorado One and emblazoned with the state flag. The aircraft will be based out of Denver International Airport, and she’s already got big fans. Heavy hitters like Governor Hickenlooper, Mayor Hancock, DIA Manager of Aviation Kim Day, and Southwest Airlines Chairman Gary Kelly came out to unveil Colorado One to the public.

“Denver is our fifth largest city and has been the fastest-growing city in our history, thanks in large part to our Front Range Customers and our hard-working Colorado-based employees,” Kelly said. “What better way to thank them than by dedicating an aircraft in their honor?”

Perhaps that growth has been spurred by the company’s active community engagement. Southwest currently sponsors the Downtown Denver Partnership, the Denver Nuggets, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Mile High Pedicabs, and Denver’s Road Home, an organization working to end homelessness in Denver by 2015.

Southwest’s Denver hub currently operates 168 daily nonstop flights to 54 destinations, and employs more than 700 people in the Denver area. Compare that to 2006 when the airline had just 13 nonstop flights to three destinations from the Mile High City. Known for its laid-back style, humorous flight attendants, and customer service, Southwest has steadily grown its business as other airlines and businesses have faltered in the weak economy.

—Image courtesy of Southwest Airlines