Australia’s indigenous heritage will feature prominently among Qantas’s first batch of eight Boeing 787-9s with Boomerang, Uluru and Dreamtime making the final list names for the soon-to-arrive next generation aircraft.
The list comprises Boomerang, Dreamtime, Great Barrier Reef, Great Southern Land, Quokka, Skippy, Uluru and Waltzing Matilda. Qantas said on Wednesday the name of the first 787-9 that is due for delivery in October would be announced at a later date.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said it was a “good mix of names” that included national landmarks, native animals, literature and indigenous heritage.
“We know people get a real sense of home when they see the flying kangaroo at airports around the world, and hopefully they’ll enjoy seeing these uniquely Australian names as well,” Joyce said in a statement.
The names for the first eight Dreamliners had been whittled down from an initial 60,000 suggestions and a shortlist of 20 that was released at the start of June.
The four people who made the 20-strong shortlist – cricketer Don Bradman, Doctor Fred Hollows, opera singer Joan Sutherland and tennis champion Evonne Goolagong – did not make the final cut. Nor did the only brand on the shortlist, Vegemite.
Qantas has eight 787-9s on order, with options for a further 35. The aircraft will, initially, operate on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route before being deployed on Perth-London Heathrow nonstop flights from March 2018.
The airline has a long-standing tradition of naming its aircraft, mostly after Australian cities, towns and places.
Exceptions in the current fleet include the Airbus A380s, which are named after prominent Australian aviation pioneers, the original Retro Roo 737-800 which is named after former airline chief executive James Strong, and the New Zealand-based, Jetconnect-operated 737-800 subfleet, which is named after New Zealand pioneers.