By James Wilkinson in Seattle, USA
Qantas ambassador and film star John Travolta has helped the airline celebrate the 70-year history of the iconic flying kangaroo logo with the launch of a specially painted brand new Boeing 737-800 in the company’s livery from the 1970s.
Unveiled at the Boeing factory in Seattle, the aircraft is the last time the Qantas kangaroo featured wings and Travolta said the livery brought back lots of fond memories.
“It’s great to see a piece of Qantas history flying in the sky today,” Travolta said.
“I have enjoyed many wonderful experiences with Qantas over the years, from getting my 747 wings to having my own 707 painted in the original 1960s Qantas livery.
“This is a great celebration of the brand’s heritage and incredible reputation over the years.
“I feel a great sense of pride just looking at this aircraft here today. Australia is lucky to have an airline like Qantas as its national carrier,” he said.
It’s the first time Qantas has had a retro jet flying commercially and the Boeing 737-800 – which features state-of-the-art seat-back entertainment, in-set power in economy and business, and the new Boeing Sky interior – will from tomorrow (Nov 20) appear on regular 737 routes across Australia.
A key element of the livery, in use from 1971 to 1984, is the ochre band across the windows, which was originally created to celebrate Qantas’ outback roots that date back to when Qantas was founded in Longreach, Queensland, in 1920 as the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (QANTAS) Limited.
Welcoming the aircraft at the Qantas Jet Base in Sydney today (Nov 19) at a hero’s reception, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the airline was proud to pay tribute to staff past and present.
“Seeing this brand new aircraft in classic livery inspires a real sense of pride in all that Qantas and its people have achieved,” he said.
“For 70 years, this familiar kangaroo on the tail has represented not just our airline, but also the best of Australia and a sense of home for those who have seen it at airports around the world,” Joyce said.
Qantas’ Group Executive for Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Olivia Wirth, said the livery was also a symbol the airline’s proud heritage and a reminder of the pioneering role that Qantas has held in the global aviation market.
“For 70 years our logo has been a symbol of aviation innovation, but also a reminder that home is never far away,” she said.
“Qantas holds a special place in the Australian psyche, and we know for many of our customers this livery will inspire a fond trip down memory lane.
“It’s a bit of a time warp having a 1970s livery on one of our brand new B737 aircraft but it’s the perfect way to highlight the years of experience behind the contemporary airline Qantas is today,” Wirth said.
To view the video, click on the YouTube image at the top of the page.