Destinations

Sydney turns Harbour Bridge into a birthday cake to celebrate Qantas’ centenary

Sydney has commemorated Qantas’ 100-year anniversary by lighting up its iconic Harbour Bridge as a larger-than-life birthday cake, complete with illuminated candles that were blown out by a Qantas 787 as it did a low-level fly-over at 1,500 feet.

More than 1,300 LED tubes, 126 LED fixtures and 38 searchlights lit up the full expanse of the world’s most famous bridge in the ultimate tribute from Sydney, the city which has been home to Qantas for more than eight decades.

The projection of 60 historic images and two, 65-metre-high birthday candles onto the southern and northern pylons completed the transformation, creating a birthday moment like no other.

Image source: Destination NSW
Image source: Destination NSW/Gregg Porteous

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres described the bridge tribute lighting extravaganza show culminating in the fly-over as fitting recognition for one of the world’s longest continuously operating airlines.

“Sydney has benefited immensely from 100 successful years of business for Qantas, from bringing visitors to the state and boosting our visitor economy to providing local jobs,” he said.

“What better way to mark such an important milestone for Qantas than with a celebration in the city it has chosen as its headquarters for the last 82 years involving another much-loved Sydney icon, the Harbour Bridge.”

Almost 200 passengers, including 100 Qantas staff, were on board the 100-minute special Centenary Scenic Flight to mark the airline’s 100th year.

Image source: Destination NSW

The spectacular candle-blowing lights off moment was a surprise for not just those on the ground, but also those on board the flight which also took in showcased Sydney Harbour, HARS Aviation Museum in Shellharbour and Rose Bay – where Qantas Flying Boats were used in the 1930s and ’40s.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline was honoured to receive such a special and spectacular centenary birthday show from Sydney.

“Qantas aircraft have been flying over Sydney Harbour Bridge for decades, so this was a spectacular way to mark our anniversary,” he said.

“It’s been a tough year for tourism, but as more domestic borders open up, we’re ready to put more aircraft back in the air and bring people to see all that New South Wales has to offer.”

The activation, executed by Destination NSW, complements a new campaign of activity designed to support the recovery of Sydney hospitality and tourism businesses.

Destination NSW chief executive Steve Cox said Qantas’ centenary provided an opportunity to send out a message of hope, both to Sydney businesses and to residents of Sydney and the rest of the state.

“Sydney continues to shine as brightly as ever, with tourism businesses steadily reopening and operating in a COVID-safe environment, putting the wellbeing of visitors first,” he said.

“This stunt was just the beginning of what will be a truly amazing line-up of events coming up across the city, and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors from across Australia to Sydney this summer.”

You can read more about Qantas’ centenary celebrations here.


Featured image source: Destination NSW

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