Like naming a child, naming an aircraft carries special significance. Think about the names of some of the most recognizable airplanes of the last century, and chances are there's a story behind them. The distinguished World War II bomber Memphis Belle was named in honor of its crew captain Robert Morgan's love, who hailed from Memphis, Tennessee. The name of Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis might not have carried the same romance, but was no less meaningful: Several financiers from St. Louis paid for the record-breaking plane's construction.

Employees pose with the New Spirit of United

Pictured from left to right: Fleet Technology Manager David Schroeder, Sr. Engineer Melissa Klopp, Flight Attendant Rosary Mendoza, Line Technician Paul Nappo, Line Technician Jeff Cantor, Lead Ramp Service Employee Billy Thomas, Lead Customer Service Representative Lisa Hutchinson, Ramp Service Employee Christopher Castillo, Flight Attendant Tracy Distasi, Ramp Service Employee Timothy Glasmann and Flight Standards Senior Manager Gary Peterson

It's in that proud tradition that this month we will inaugurate our new fleet of 777-300ERs with an aircraft christened New Spirit of United. If you've listened to our CEO Oscar Munoz speak over the past year, you've likely heard that term. Early in his tenure, Oscar dubbed the new energy and enthusiasm that he feels whenever he travels around our airline's network as the "new spirit of United."

"This special aircraft represents not a commemoration of the past but a commitment to the future," Oscar said. "It captures the spirit of excellence we aspire to deliver with each and every flight we take."

Whether you're a customer or an employee, we hope that you've felt that spirit and the change that accompanies it; the change that drove us to reach record-breaking performance and customer satisfaction milestones last year.

New Spirit of United, with its name proudly displayed on its nose, will fly in recognition of the more than 86,000 employees worldwide who strive each day to make United the safest, most reliable and friendliest airline in the world. Theirs is the spirit of compassion, the spirit of hard work, the spirit of accomplishment and, perhaps most of all, the spirit of the friendly skies.