Qantas has this morning shared the news that it will honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with a special livery on its newest Dreamliner to enter the fleet.
After naming their latest Dreamliner last week, Qantas has unveiled the plans for its fifth design in the airline’s flying art series, which started more than 20 years ago, and will be unveiled when the Boeing 787-9 is completed next month.
It will be the second flying art aircraft currently in service with the national carrier and the only one dedicated to international flights.
The unique livery reflects the long, rich history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and is in keeping with the airline’s commitment to championing reconciliation and promoting the best of Australia to the world.
The latest design has been conceptualised by leading Indigenous owned design studio Balarinji, which has developed all of the flying art aircraft.
The new Dreamliner carrying the special livery (registration VH-ZND) is the fourth to enter the fleet, and will be welcomed into Australia with a special arrival event in Alice Springs in early March 2018 before entering service on routes like Melbourne-Los Angeles and Perth-London.
It’s a more positive end to the week for Qantas, who suffered a string of unusually negative press this week, first for leaving behind 100+ passenger’s luggage on a flight to Perth, and then for being ranked “worst” for fuel efficiency.
A walk through history: past Indigenous livery designs
Inspired by the natural colours of Australia, Wunala Dreaming of the Yanyuwa people from the Gulf of Carpentaria, celebrated the reproduction of all living things in the continuing harmony of nature’s seasons.
This artwork was carried on two different B747-400 aircraft (VH-OJB 1994-2003, and VH-OEJ 2003 – 2011).
Nalanji, meaning ‘Our Place’, was a celebration of the balance and harmony of nature in Australia and reflected the lush colour palette of tropical Australia.
This artwork appeared on a Qantas 747-300 (VH-EBU) from 1995 until the aircraft was retired in 2005.
Using vibrant colours, Yananyi Dreaming by Rene Kulitja depicted the dramatic landscape surrounding Uluru. Pathways lead to the symbol of Uluru which was illustrated as both a physical form, and as an abstract representation of concentric circles. Yananyi Dreaming was illustrated on a 737aircraft (VH-VXB) in 2002.
Inspired by the work of late West Australian Aboriginal painter, Paddy Bedford, Mendoowoorrji is an interpretation of the 2005 painting ‘Medicine Pocket’ which captures the essence of Mendoowoorrji, Bedford’s mother’s country in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Mendoowoorrji was delivered to Qantas in 2013, taking over 950-man hours to complete over a five-day period. The 737-800 (VH-XZJ) remains in service with Qantas.