Qantas’s Retro Roo II touches down

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 16, 2015
QANTAS BOEING 737 800 SYD RF 5K5A9992
Retro Roo II arrives in Sydney. (Rob Finlayson)
QANTAS 737 A380 SYD RF 5K5A9998
Retro Roo II taxis in front of a Qantas A380. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas has celebrated its 95th anniversary with both a nod to its past and a look to the future.

The past, in the form of Retro Roo II, a Boeing 737-800 with registration VH-VXQ, was unveiled to invited guests, media and staff at the company’s Hangar 416 at Sydney Airport on Monday.

The airline’s second retro jet has been painted with the original scheme featured on Qantas’s first jet aircraft, the Boeing 707, when it entered service in 1959.

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The livery features the the words “Australia’s Overseas Airline Qantas” on the fuselage, a red cheatline along the passenger windows and a Flying Kangaroo and the word Qantas on a white tail with two red stripes.

The aircraft landed in Sydney shortly before 0800 on Monday morning from Townsville, where it had been repainted by Flying Colours Aviation, and was towed to the hangar for the official presentation.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the aircraft represented “our past and our history, which is an amazing history” that stretched back 95 years to the day, when Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (QANTAS) began.

“As we celebrate our 95th birthday today, I hope this livery inspires a sense of pride in what our national airline has achieved during all those years of taking Australians around the world and bringing them safely home again,” Joyce said.

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While Retro Roo II recognised Qantas’s history, Monday’s official presentation also acknowledged the airline’s future, which will involve the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner joining the fleet in less than two years’ time.

ceremony4
Boeing’s Dinesh Keskar, Qantas’s Alan Joyce and Qantas crew with Retro Roo II. (Seth Jaworski)

To that end, Boeing senior vice president for Asia Pacific and India sales Dinesh Keskar presented Qantas with a model 787-9 painted in Qantas colours, acknowledging the 50-year partnership between the manufacturer and Australian flag carrier.

“Although we are here today to celebrate Qantas’s history and the 95th anniversary, it is also a good day to look at the future,” Keskar said.

“With its excellent operational efficiency, flexibility and the range capability, with the kind of new routes Qantas can continue to lead to open up for the world, it will again move Qantas into the next paradigm, next era of celebration.”

Joyce said Qantas looked forward to the future with optimism, with the Dreamliner order giving the airline the opportunity to open up new routes, expand its international footprint and ensure all parts of the business continued to grow.

“The company has never been in as good a state as it is today,” Joyce told reporters after the official presentation of Retro Roo II

“The company is in a sweet spot today and hopefully we continue to build on that.

“The company is in a fantastic position, going back into profit, making very good profits, growing for the future and looking at the next level of expansion.”

Qantas’s first retro jet, the original Retro Roo VH-XZP, was delivered to Sydney fresh from Boeing’s Seattle factory last November.

© Kurt Ams 0438742352 kurt_ams@yahoo.com.au
Retro Roo II flies in to Sydney. (Kurt Ams)
© Kurt Ams 0438742352 kurt_ams@yahoo.com.au
Retro Roo II flies in to Sydney. (Kurt Ams)
Touchdown in Sydney. (Seth Jaworski)
The original Retro Roo. (Seth Jaworski)

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40 Comments

  • Damon

    says:

    Amazing livery! Can’t wait to see it at Sydney!

  • Mick F

    says:

    Hmmm, very nice and all, BUT, with the words “Austalia’s Overseas Airline” down the side, would this have not been better served on one of the widebodies.

  • Mac Carter

    says:

    Great Job Flying Colours.

  • Greg Boyce

    says:

    Gee don’t they look really nice. The colours and schemes seen to suit the 737. but as commented earlier the retro Roo would have been better on a 747-400

  • adammudhen

    says:

    Love the little black radome as well! Nice touch.

  • Charles

    says:

    How great to see it was painted in Aus and not overseas.

  • fgh

    says:

    Both look great but it’d be nice to see at least one with some polished aluminum. Would that have been possible with the 737 or does it use too much composite material?

  • Mike M

    says:

    @Mick F – Not at all, as the 707 and the 737 share the same fuselage design, and it’s a tribute to the Qantas 707 days, so it would look out of place on a different aircraft type.

  • GC

    says:

    Great to see the second 737-838 in ‘Retro’ colours and makes me think that it would be nice to see the HARS
    ‘Connie’ repainted in original Qantas colours. Surely ‘Flying Colours Aviation’ could do a great job.
    This would be great publicity for Qantas and I’m sure the public would appreciate the thought.
    I visited the Qantas 747-438 at HARS just last weekend and was surprised to see that it is still missing three engines. When does Qantas intend to give HARS the other three engines, as this historic aircraft doesn’t do Qantas justice with its missing engines. COME ON QANTAS!

  • paule

    says:

    Now let’s see a 717 in TAA colours!

  • Don

    says:

    I think that if they are going to all the effort to paint a plane in special liveries, if the livery is based on a 747 livery then QANTAS should paint it on a 747. I understand that the 747s won’t be in service for a lot longer but if they want to honour the 747 and they still have the type in service, well… then isn’t it a no brainier. Anyway despite all that, QANTAS is still doing very well with the “RetroJet” thing, and I must complement them for that. Being a Kiwi myself, I think it would be great if Air New Zealand would do the same sort of thing. Don’t you think it would be pretty cool if Air New Zealand painted a 777 in the 1970s/1980s DC10 livery or at least an ATR72 in the old 1990s Air New Zealand Link livery. They have plenty ATR 72-600s on order and it wouldn’t cost all that much more or be a huge inconvenience, come on Air New Zealand, Why Not!

  • Ray E

    says:

    Fair to assume it probably will be used for Trans-Tasman and Perth-Singapore flights so the “Australia’s Overseas Airline” on the side would be justified.

  • John C

    says:

    (Hmmm, very nice and all, BUT, with the words “Austalia’s Overseas Airline” down the side, would this have not been better served on one of the widebodies.)

    BUT, Qantas IS using them on ‘overseas’ flights from Perth to Singapore.

  • Chris Grealy

    says:

    That is just sad….

  • Peter Haig

    says:

    AJ quote, “I hope this livery inspires a sense of price(???) in what our national airline has achieved” Hmm I hope this was a typo and not a call for greater margins!

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Thanks Peter, awkward slip of the keyboard there!

  • Malki

    says:

    Happy Birthday QANTAS

  • Ian

    says:

    Surely is must be possible to simply acknowledge that QANTAS has done a great job of reminding everyone of it’s history? On every occasion I have travelled on Retro Roo (1) people have commented on the livery. Quite often there are some that have no idea as to the reason for it and when I mention why they are genuinely pleased (and somewhat proud?) of what the airline has done.

    Retro Roo (2) arrives and we have comments about whether the livery on a 737 is appropriate – based on an assumption that it doesn’t go overseas. It could do the Syd – Melb run for its entire life as far as I’m concerned and IT WOULDN’T MATTER. The airline should be proud of its achievement and it’s 95 years of history.

    We surely must be in for comments about it being on an aircraft with 2 engines when the 707 had 4. We could also have some comments about it being a waste of money?

    I also note that we have a correspondent raise issues about the HARS 747 and the number of engines it has or hasn’t got. For the love of all things holy can we not just appreciate the attempt to remind us of the airlines history !

    Happy Birthday QANTAS.

  • Red Barron

    says:

    Absolutely fantastic looking bird. Keep up the great work Qantas and please send more through to flying colours in TOWNSVILLE they are doing a great job.

  • Al

    says:

    @ Pauline. The 717’s are operated and leased from Cobham even though they are in QantasLink colours. Your suggestion would be best forwarded to Cobham. I can’t see them painting a aircraft in a TAA colour scheme as it really has nothing to do with them.

  • Paul

    says:

    The fact that QANTAS didn’t have to do anything but have come up with two great retro schemes is fantastic.. We should all be proud of our national airline.

  • Davo

    says:

    Hope they do a Retro Roo 3 of the V Jet livery of the 60s and early 70s.
    It would look great on one of their new 787s. Considering that V from what I remember stood for Velocity and given the speed of the787 I think it would be appropriate.

  • Davo

    says:

    Re: above comment from me. I read that the V actually means Vannus in Latin or fan. Hence the meaning ” fan-jet “. Can anyone else clarify this?.

  • Craigy

    says:

    @Al, No I think you will find that the B717s have been leased/purchased by Qantas and Cobham are contracted to operate them for Qantaslink

    Well done Qantas. The aircraft looks great!

    With the retro look, maybe Qantas will now review the current livery and put the wings back on the roo. Having said that, I am sure if they did, there will be people out there moaning about the version of the winged roo. Qantas just can’t win with some people.

  • Roy Fordham

    says:

    AND ABOUT TIME TOO !!. THE WING ON THE KANGAROO (TAIL PLANE) SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN REMOVED, WHOEVER THE STUPID ASS WAS, THAT HAD IT REMOVED, TOOK AWAY A LIVERY THAT WAS RECOGNIZED AROUND THE WORLD, AS THE AUSTRALIAN AIRLINE, AT ITS VERY BEST.
    BRING IT BACK ON ALL AIRCRAFT, PRONTO !!,
    I HAD FLOWN WITH QANTAS FOR OVER 40 YEARS, A PLATINUM F/F, UNTIL I EXPERIENCED AN ABYSMAL EXPERIENCE TWO YEARS AGO, FLYING LHR / SYDNEY, ON BOARD AN AIRBUS A-380, NEVER AGAIN QANTAS, MY INTERNATIONAL FLYING WILL BE WITH EMIRATES NOW, A CLASS PERFORMANCE, EVEN IN ECONOMY CLASS, (CATTLE) WITH QANTAS.

  • Ian

    says:

    Roy – take the Caps Lock off and settle – you’ll give yourself high blood pressure. The article is about QANTAS and their idea and innovation of introducing the retro series of aircraft.

    While I’m sure your terrible experience on the A380 when you didn’t get your chilled wine has obviously meant the airline misses out on your business take the issue up with someone who cares – try 1800-give-a-rats.

    I agree also that the wing on the Kangaroo should not have been removed. It would greatly assist people such as yourself to be able to avoid the airline that so obviously upset you.

    We here in Australia have a wonderful airline heritage and one that should be shared and shown to the world. I’m not particularly a big fan of the “Red Rat” at present regarding a range of costing issues but we should celebrate their milestone and acknowledge what they have done for Australia and the aviation world at large.

  • Rusty

    says:

    Both planes look fabulous – well done all and may the trend continue.
    Happy Birthday QANTAS.

  • Corey

    says:

    I’d love to see Qantas buy a small fleet of 8-12 Boeing 747-8I but with an 787 type flight deck which could be painted in Retro colours along with 787s and A380s. The 747-8s could be used on US flights to Sanfran and NY along with Canada, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and south Africa. The operating costs would be the same or even less, pilot and crew training is very minimal and it has extra seats meaning extra profit as the -8 would have just over 400 seats in current 3 class Qantas spec. Also the -8s could replace the 400s on flights from Brisbane to LA and Brisbane to the UK.

  • Scott Shallcross

    says:

    Hopefully these new aircraft will have seat back entertainment, flew from Brisbane to Melbourne last Thursday and still had little screens that dropped down from the overheads. Then on the flight home to Perth serviced by an 2002 built A330 we had I pads to use, must be the old seats out of the 767’s they retired. Time for Qantas to get up to speed it almost 2016.

  • Dave Thomas

    says:

    What a great birthday present from QANTAS to the Australian public. I’m sure Hudson Fysh, Fergus McMaster, and Paul McGinness would be proud of their Airlines achievements from 1920 till present day.

  • Andrew Franklin

    says:

    Wouldn’t have been better to have what QANTAS actually stands for down the side of the aircraft..

  • Ex Qantas apprentice, LAME and F/Eng

    says:

    DAVO
    Re V Jets – V is the Latin for fan thus V Jet

  • grant

    says:

    Looks even better than Reto 1

    I remember the 707 transiting Darwin, brings back memories, a great job.

  • Jim Thorn

    says:

    This thing looks so good it hurts. I remember as a young kid looking through the fence at Mascot at the big QF Boeings with amazement at how great it would be to fly in one. Well done Qantas.

  • GC

    says:

    Ian’s comment “also note that we have a correspondent raise issues about the HARS 747 and the number of engines it has or hasn’t got. For the love of all things holy can we not just appreciate the attempt to remind us of the airlines history !” is rather inapt, as the 747-438 at HARS is about Qantas’s History!

  • Bob . E

    says:

    Both aircraft look truly great ! , but I was thinking this also remembers the people that worked for the airline and the people who flew as passengers , that has not gone away ,it lives like a daily visible easy history lesson for anyone taking an interest . Running an airline back then would have been different with its own challenges no doubt and they weren’t always the ” good old day’s ” , life might have seemed simpler , but I”m sure many wouldn’t have always agreed with that statement . The environment where Qantas stands now is not the same with so many new players being only one difference. The people in charge at Qantas over the last decade or so have at times forgotten about people and yet still claimed they being Australia’s national airline ,I hope we are seeing a change in thinking but I remain skeptical ,trust is not a given to anyone , I’ll wait and see . Finally Qantas , during the late 1980″s ,you didn’t just take over an airline here in Australia , did you know what you had in your hands was another piece of history , a piece of real magic , called “Australian Airlines ” , our ground breaking domestic carrier .Under the one banner now of Qantas ,which would normally would be called a merger if it had no significance at all ,but that is not the case here . These two 737’s probably have been painted in what had nothing to do with anything domestic here in Australia at the time as others have commented on is true , Qantas had very little domestically , they were “Australia’s Overseas Airline ” , international . The two painted 737 aircraft in the 50’s and 60’s livery are symbolic and a great reminder to us and this is really well done for new comers . However without the acknowledgement of ” Australian Airlines ” as an equally true icon , would only half of the story ,some would could say misleading . Keep going with the paint jobs Qantas you’ve started something , I feel your on a winner with the pride/ public but its only part done ! .

  • Red Barron

    says:

    Qantas is starting to get its mojo back

  • DWM

    says:

    The two retro 737s look great. What about the B707-138B at Longreach in its original livery, how good it would be to see it still flying.

  • James Prasad

    says:

    Happy 95th birthday Qantas.

  • Camo

    says:

    Yes, well done QANTAS, VXQ looks great and will easily stand out and be noticed. However, what was not mentioned in the article is that VXQ is one of the first old 737-800s that QANTAS have upgraded to now have 30 rows instead of 29 (and some other improvements as well). I wonder how the cabin crew and everybody using the rear toilets feel about this? There were claims that the seat pitch wouldn’t change. But with the lack of overhead locker space at that end of the aircraft at a premium (due to safety equipment storage) things may get interesting when the flight is full.

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