Qantas is to mark 70 years of the flying kangaroo by unveiling its first “retro” aircraft livery, which will feature on a Boeing 737-800 due to be delivered next month.
The 737-800, due to arrive in Australia on November 19, will be the 75th to join the Qantas fleet, and its painting in an as yet undisclosed retro scheme featuring the flying kanagaroo will mark the 70th anniversary of the kangaroo appearing on a Qantas aircraft for the first time.
The first Qantas aircraft to wear a kangaroo logo was Liberator G-AGKT in 1944. A converted ex RAF LB-30 Liberator bomber, one of four Qantas would operate, G-AGKT was fitted with long-range fuel tanks and could seat 15 passengers, and was used on flights to Colombo in what is now Sri Lanka. Qantas co-founder and chairman Hudson Fysh dubbed the flights the “Kangaroo Service” – thought to be due to the long nonstop “hop” between Learmonth, WA and Colombo – to link with BOAC flights onwards to London.
The iconic winged kangaroo symbol was then introduced in 1947 on the airline’s Lockheed Constellations. A 1984 re-design saw the kangaroo logo lose its wings, while the current livery was introduced in 2007.
“Our kangaroo logo represents our proud history, inextricably linked with the development of commercial aviation in Australia. It has also become a symbol of ‘home’ to Australians travelling both here and abroad,” Qantas group executive for brand, marketing and corporate affairs, Olivia Wirth said in a statement on Wendesday.
“A retro livery is the perfect tribute to our iconic flying kangaroo logo and its 70th anniversary.”
The retro schemed 737 will be 737-838 VH-XZP msn 44577, which is the last 737-800 currently on order for Qantas.