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Qantas to unveil Retro Roo II in November

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 19, 2015

The second Qantas Retro Roo will feature one of the airline’s 12 historic liveries since 1920. (Qantas)
Qantas says it will add a second retro-jet to its fleet in November when it unveils another Boeing 737-800 in one of the airline’s historic liveries as part of its 95-year anniversary celebrations.

The airline hopes the second ‘Retro Roo’, which will feature one of Qantas’s 12 historic liveries since 1920, will spark a “fresh wave of Australian aviation nostalgia”.

Qantas’s first retro-jet, VH-XZP, arrived factory fresh from the Boeing factory in Seattle in November 2014 featuring the iconic ochre colour scheme from the 1970s and 1980s and has proven to be a popular feature among travellers and aviation enthusiasts alike.

“We are very excited to be announcing the commissioning of Retro Roo II following the phenomenal response we received from the community and our people when we introduced the first Retro Roo with its classic 1970s iconic last November,” Qantas group executive for brand, marketing and corporate affairs Olivia Wirth said in a statement on Monday.

“You can see from what’s posted on social media that people enjoy taking photos of Retro Roo I as it travels to airports around Australia. Crew tell us it’s always a talking point when it pulls up to the gate and people get on board, though they’re generally pleased that it’s not 1974 on in the inside as well.”


Qantas used VH-XZP for its return to the Perth-Singapore service in June, and had the aircraft on display at February’s Avalon Airshow.

The company said ‘Retro Roo II’, which will come from one of Qantas’s 67 Boeing 737-800s, would be repainted in Townsville over a 14-day period before the new livery was unveiled at a staff event to be held at its Sydney jet base hangar on November 16.

Lining up at Melbourne for the return service to Brisbane. (Victor Pody)
The original Retro Roo. (Victor Pody)

Could Retro Roo II hark back to the propliner era? (Qantas)

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Comments (33)

  • Marc


    Re-paint the whole fleet

  • jack


    Can’t wait!! Qantas have the best special liveries in the world in my opinion and this will only keep that statement alive!

  • Raymond


    Why not one for each of the 12 different historic liveries?

  • adammudhen


    Great to see, can’t wait to see what they do for the 100th. I’m sure I’m being wildly optimistic here, but I’d love to see 12 different 737s, each as a different Retro Roo (although I suppose it’d only be 11 really….)

    I’d love to see the Connie livery return, but whatever it is, can’t wait to see it.

  • John Purcell


    Blimey! – Go jump the lot of ya! Tsk! tsk!. As an avid model collector of Australian subjects I could not begin to ponder a complete change to the QANTAS fleet, no matter how pretty it/they may look unless the proposal comes with a compensatory package for the likes of me – “model collectors” – perhaps in the form of mortgage relief for a new bigger residential home.

    That said, a certain scale model company has already released in very limited numbers two retro schemed what-if QANTAS models of both the Boeing 787-800 and DC-10 in 1/200 scale. Go find em.

  • Ron


    Wonderful news. Now for a name. I propose Ron Yates. This would honour a former Qantas CEO who was the first aeronautical engineer employed by the company and as such was deeply involved in the introduction of the Constellation, Electra and 707.

  • Ramon


    Can we have a Boeing 717 in TAA Whit T Jet livery to remember where Qantas inherited their domestic network from?

  • Jeff Atkinson


    I would suggest Air Zealand has better liveries.

  • Ian


    As has been said before it is hard to think about the future unless you remember where you are from. It is not big issue re the retro fit of the the planes but it is significant and shows the airline is thinking about the past and what it can do in the future. A simple but significant initiative.

  • Russell M


    I”d love to see the Australian Airlines colours back on the domestic fleet – they were one of the best.

  • Pete Harris


    I began work as an apprentice AME with Qantas in 1956. The livery then on it’s L1049 fleet was “Qantas Empire Airways”. It looked great in what we called running writing “Sanscript”

  • john doutch


    I think the photo at the top of this page has got it right, the V Jet livery.

  • Alex


    Well a dash 8 in retro prop liner scheme might do well, I wouldn’t want to see a prop liner scheme on a jet

  • Gary


    Agree with Jeff, Air NZ have the special livery game stiched up but the Roo is pretty good. We suggested that Qantaslink paint a 717 in TAA livery some time ago. It would be a hoot and respectful of their Australian Airlines / TAA heritage. More logo / special livery jets are a must, get onto it Qantas…..Oh and the challenge is now with Virgin. What can Borghetti come up with regards something different?

  • Craigy


    A couple of aircraft in the old T-jet scheme and Australian Airlines would be a nice recognition of the TAA side of Qantas

  • George C


    Totally agree with Alex. I suggest painting a DHC-8 in the TAA Fokker Friendship delivery scheme. It had a natural metal tail with upswept blue, white and red stripes.
    For the next 737, the 707 delivery scheme, similar to the 707 at Longreach, would be ideal.
    Ramon also has a good suggestion with a 717 in TAA T-Jet delivery scheme, again with the metal finish tail.

  • gordy


    Be good to see TEAL scheme again on a Air NZ, 777.

  • Boggles


    Yes go australian or TAA livery,would be different.

  • Ben


    I’m thinking Australian or TAA this time around. Australian had classic 737’s so it’s not much to adapt from a straight wing -400 to a winglet -800.

    V-Jet is too similar to the current Retro livery, also Travolta’s jet has it. HARS Connie already wears the livery of that era.

    Unless they go way back… The Empire ‘strikes back’ maybe?

    Personally I think the current retro scheme would look good on a 747-400 or A380.

  • Paul Q


    Yep for me ” AUSTRALIAN / TAA” had an equal if not better history than Qantas is true and very sad it has been forgotten , almost disgraceful really . The jetstar idea was what it was at the time, an idea ,the bigger the aircraft the less effect the colour scheme has ,it looks like a silver sometimes very dull drab grey colour depending on the light and this is matched with orange …mmm .With very little character and not that you have to have it , but nothing symbolic either it just doesn’t say anything ..which seems such a shame and waisted opportunity . They could change the whole lot over to “AUSTRALIAN” tomorrow and the last design had a blue kangaroo on the tail ,pretty good by today’s standards really .Thinking about it seriously though , that this brand sells itself almost immediately . A new set of colours in ” AUSTRALIAN “would be a huge success too …….. AHH , just dreaming though ..I wish 🙂

  • Michael


    Don’t know if this has been missed in the comments, however how good is it that the repaint is being done in Australia, and Qld even, rather than Singapore.

  • Max O.


    What about putting the wings back onto ALL
    Of the Roos on all of the fleet. THe flying kangaroo without its iconic winged logo never looked as good. The too with its flying wing was and is a classically beautiful design.

  • Greg


    Lets go back to when the HARS Connie was being refurbished in the US and James Strong refused to let it have the Qantas name painted on the aircraft. Till this very day it has all the original Qantas markings except for the name Qantas. What a shame!

  • Ben



    Maybe they could kill two birds with one stone? Allow HARS to have an accurate livery and pay for a repaint? I’m sure HARS wouldn’t say no to a free repaint if all they had to do was fly the girl to TSV and back. After all painting the name on the side is free advertising everywhere Connie goes!

  • John Harrison


    Sounds like a great idea, and there are a few good colour scheme’s to chose from over the years. I would love to see a B747-438 in 1970s B747-238B colours. What ever comes out will be worth watching out for.
    Well done to Qantas for doing this.

  • Jarod Gould


    Cannot wait to see the Retro Roo II it will be one of the most brilliant liveries Qantas has done all time.

  • Bob


    I wonder whether it will be driven by trade mark laws. Under the trade mark regime, if you don’t use a trademark as a trademark then it can be removed due to non-use (i.e. use it or (possibly) lose it). I wonder if some of those Australian Airlines kangaroo under the triangles logos would be worth protecting for a while longer (by using them).

  • Warren


    Yes, great to see this happening, and I wish Qantas would make the leap (excuse the pun) and paint one of their 747’s in the retro livery as well.
    The retro livery was always more sophisticated and stylish in my opinion. Leaving the kangaroo’s legs on the tail and not wrapping them around fuselage gives a more pleasant look, when looked on from an oblique angle. The current livery is not very flattering to the kangaroo’s legs particularly on the a380. The wings on the ‘flying kangaroo’ were also a nice stylish touch.
    The old ‘flying kangaroo’ and a narrower version of the Ocha cheat line might make for a great 100th anniversary livery. It would also be nice to see the crews on the retro aircraft wear the colourful 70s uniforms which look glamourous and fun, compared to the fluorescent marker uniform we have today.
    All good to see. Good work 99.

  • Mac Carter


    Would love to see one of the Boeing 717 aircraft repainted in the TAA DC9 livery.
    Whispering T Jet, remember when?.

  • franz chong


    I started thinking assuming it’s for a A330 The TAA 1980’s or Australian 1986-1993 scheme that they used on the A300’s given they were Australia’s first ever wide bodies domestically after the DC10 AND Tristar were rejected on size grounds several years earlier.

  • Paul


    I love the old livery.

    Although the Qantas livery is modern and new, it lacks oomph. The plain white with black writing and just a red painted tail is exactly the same as virgins standard white with Virgin tail and Virgin Australia lettering.

    Its the day and age where we everyone wants crisp and clean lines. We see it with web pages, Aircraft livery, shopfronts and so forth, but in the same sense we are lacking any real imagination or variation.

    I actually think the current Qantas livery is lackluster and boring.

  • Malki


    I would like to see other models instead of just the 737s as I’ve just read. Maybe they’ll stick with 737s for now and do one or other of different models later. If this idea is popular enough then they may consider painting 747s or an Airbus or two. With different models of aircraft and even more liveries to choose from – who knows what Qantas might do??? However, the 747-438s are being retired and phased out so unless Qantas orders (or already has on order) the -8 Intercontinental… I don’t think they have at present – I haven’t seen any on the order list for Qantas… nor Jetstar for that matter, but I don’t expect Jetstar to be putting any orders in for 747s, A380s nor even A330s. They are simply to big for this airline at present. It’s a matter of wait and see… otherwise I’ll just expect 737s only – and maybe just the two.

  • Ashley


    About the only new aircraft I know of that Qantas has on order are more 737’s and some 787-9’s. I have not heard of any strategy for 747-8’s, which is a great shame. I flew in a Lufthansa 747-8 and it was superb and I really don’t like A380’s very much. Qantas’s fleet replacement strategy does seem a bit of a mystery!

    As for retro liveries, I love the idea and also reckon Qantas has a much greater tradition to draw on than AirNZ or anyone else!

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