Qantas takes delivery of its “retro roo” 737

written by Gerard Frawley | November 17, 2014
VH-XZP at Boeing Field on Sunday.
The hangar doors open to formally reveal the retro 737.
The hangar doors open to formally reveal the retro 737.

Qantas has taken formal delivery of its retro painted 737, featuring the airline’s iconic ochre livery of the 1970s and early 1980s, in a ceremony in Seattle on Sunday.

“It is a livery that will be familiar to Australians because the ’70s and ’80s saw Qantas become a truly global airline, working hand in hand with Boeing,” Qantas chief financial officer Gareth Evans said during the event at Boeing Field.

“It was a new era where long-haul travel became a realistic aspiration for ordinary Australians. Millions of Australians experienced overseas travel for the first time on a Qantas aircraft painted in this iconic design,” Evans said.


The aircraft, VH-XZP, is Qantas’s 75th 737-800, and has been named after former Qantas chief executive James Strong.

“James passed away last year after a lifetime of achievement, but his legacy lives on today,” Evans said.

Strong was one of “Qantas’s great leaders”, said the Qantas CFO, who had a “deep interest” in the airline’s history.

VH-XZP is the last 737 in Qantas’s current order book, and is due depart Seattle on its delivery flight to Sydney on Monday morning. After a refuelling stop in Honolulu and an overnight in Nadi, Fiji, the aircraft is due to arrive in Sydney on late Wednesday morning.

Qantas cabin crew with CFO Gareth Evans, Qantas ambassador John Travolta and Boeing's Dinesh Keskar, VP sales Asia Pacific & India.
Qantas cabin crew with CFO Gareth Evans, Qantas ambassador John Travolta and Boeing’s Dinesh Keskar, VP sales Asia Pacific & India.
The iconic flying kangaroo.
The iconic flying kangaroo.

Did you know that Australian Aviation Magazine comes digitally? Subscribe to Australian Aviation’s digital magazine for just $59.95 a year! Our app is available on mobile, tablet and PC devices! Subscribe now at


  • CJ


    Harks back to the time when airline travel was an experience in itself
    Whereas now it’s just mass travel for the unwashed masses

  • Looks nice. I travel on price. Until Qantas can compete on price, I won’t be travelling with them. The Federal Government has to relax the rules on shareholder ownership. There is nothing special about an airline. That thinking is yesteryear stuff.

  • Paul


    Has so much more character than the current livery. Would love to see this on a 747….

  • Patrick


    this should be the standard livery IT IS SO GOOD

  • grant


    The airlines saftey is number 1, QANTAS has that by a mile.



    Ditto Patrick and Paul Just LUV it

  • Andre Laoh


    Brings back wonderful memories of many wonderful flights from Sydney to Jakarta and return on my high school holidays in the seventies……

  • Bruce


    As if Qantas don’t have enough to deal with…so they do luxury time for retro?…what a joke. Get back to work Qantas and fix it.

  • Ian


    Maybe QANTAS could consider an Australian Airlines livery to celebrate the 30 years since the TAA name change?

  • Captain


    Is this scheme permanent or temporary?

  • Mark


    John smith , if you fly on price alone , I have to ask if you also pick out everything else on cost alone , you get what you pay for , safety for one thing , Qantas should be cheaper , but they don’t buy the right aircraft…

  • John Harrison


    This is a great looking colour scheme, I can remember the Boeing 747s when they had it. Its so much better than the current livery. As some-else has said, a TAA colours on an aircraft would be good too.
    Well Done Qantas, now’s there something I don’t say very often.

  • YK


    Value for money= safety! I rather pay a few extra bucks, and will always choose Qantas if I have a choice!

  • franz chong


    This color scheme was long gone by the time I took my first ever flights with QANTAS in 1989 and 1990 respectively but it’s lovely none the less.I would like to see next an a330 in the 1986 to 1993 Australian Airlines Colors as they originally used the A300’S which were the second wide bodied aircraft that saw service in this country.Of course we had all these overseas operators with their DC10 and MD11 as well over the years but it was the Airbus and later the 767 which saw service in this nation.

  • Eric


    This livery was on the B707 that took me and new bride on our honeymoon to Noumea 46 years ago..
    Great memories – and my “honeymoon ” with Qantas still continues.

  • Djps


    Why wasn’t the belly and engines polished… Would have looked much more authentic.

  • Air Observer


    That would illustrate the change in aircraft materials. If you polished the aircraft you would be left with large patches of (composite) baby chunder green! They have tried to be sympathetic to the original scheme (which would look fantastic on the A380!)

  • Red Barron


    please please Mr Qantas do one of the A330-200s which is coming over from Jetstar to Qantas in this scheme. Great to see one doing the Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane runs.

  • John


    Why a 737 for the retro look ?. The 737 is predominately domestic . This was Australian Airlines territory back then . The memories of this scheme was on Qantas international .Would have thought an A 330 or A380 whould have been a better choice ..

  • Chris


    What a great the colour scheme. If the nickname for the airline is the flying kangaroo, then put its wings back on for the whole fleet. I also think they could do a heap of retro liveried planes, a bit like the Norfolk Southern railway in the States, they have painted their locos in other railroads old colours…they could do one in the old TAA paint, one in Australian Airlines paint, and even go to the old ANA and Ansett if they wanted to celebrate Australian Airlines. I for one would appreciate this idea.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year