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.
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.
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.
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.