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Vegemite makes Qantas’s even spread of shortlisted True Blue 787 names

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 1, 2017

A Vegemite Dream?

Qantas has included the nation’s most famous (or infamous according to some overseas visitors) breakfast spread Vegemite in its shortlist of potential names for its Boeing 787-9 fleet that also features a grab bag of prominent Australians, some “Great” landmarks and a smattering of local wildlife.

The 20-strong shortlist, based on input from the travelling public, was released on Thursday, with the final eight to be named on Wednesday, June 7.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline received about 40,000 responses from the travelling public since it called for nominations in mid-May.

“There were so many great entries that truly reflected the spirit of Australia and we’re thrilled with the response,” Joyce said in a statement.

“It was obvious that people really put some thought into different themes we could use to name our fleet of eight new Dreamliners including famous explorers to some of their favourite Aussie sayings.


“And it’s fair to say there were a few suggestions which we found very funny but probably not suitable for an aircraft that will be flying around the globe.”

There were four shortlisted nominations of people – cricketer Don Bradman, Doctor Fred Hollows, opera singer Joan Sutherland and tennis champion Evonne Goolagong.

Three Australian greats also made the cut, namely the Great Barrier Reef, Great Ocean Road and Great Southern Land. Australian Aviation is unsure whether the latter refers to the 1980s hit from Icehouse or a reference to the continent of Australia.

Similarly, True Blue is both the name of John Williamson’s folk song and a local slang term to emphasise patriotism. (As an aside, it is also the name of US carrier jetBlue’s frequent flyer program.)

And Jillaroo could be a reference to the nation’s women’s rugby league team or the female equivalent of a jackaroo or employee on an outback farm.

Vegemite was the only brand name that made the cut to be in the running to be adorned on one of the airline’s Dreamliners that will, initially, operate on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route before being deployed on the Perth-London Heathrow nonstop flight from March 2018.

One suggestion, put forward by Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus on Twitter, did not make the list.

Qantas has eight 787-9 Dreamliners on order, with options for a further 35. The first of the next generation Boeing twins is due to arrive in October.

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 CEO James Strong, and the New Zealand-based, Jetconnect-operated 737-800 subfleet, which is named after New Zealand pioneers.

The final 20

Don Bradman
Evonne Goolagong
Fred Hollows
Great Barrier Reef
Great Ocean Road
Great Southern Land
Joan Sutherland
True Blue
Waltzing Matilda

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Comments (29)

  • Peter


    What happened to ANZAC?

  • Ken


    Ask them to be honest about how many suggested Planey McPlaneface.

  • J


    I like Kookaburra or true blue.

  • Harrison


    I Like Red Dog True Blue And Vegemite

  • David Britt


    Two words; “Nick Cummins”

  • Steve


    What happened to “David Boon”?

  • Pete


    Looks like ‘Margaret Court’ didn’t make the cut…

  • Wayne Roberts


    Slim Dusty

  • Dan


    What happened to David Boon?

  • Neko


    What a bunch of stereotypical boring suggestions. May as well call them Plane #1, Plane #2 etc. etc.

  • Lechuga


    It’s too bad qantas have nothing to do with football or I would’ve suggested naming them after footy teams.

  • Adrian P


    Perhaps they should sale the naming rights like the stadiums do.
    I would not put Vegemite on my plane for free.

  • Phil


    Fred Hollows….a great iconic KIWI!

  • JP


    I like Great Southern Land – Great distance to a great land

  • Arkair


    How about calling them after all the Australian prisons like Long Bay, Bogo Rd, Goulburn, Pentridge etc.? After all 17 hours in those economy seats will seem like a life sentence! Or maybe call them after well known torture place like Guantanamo Bay, Siberia etc

  • Franklyn


    To Arkair above…..

    It’s spelt ‘Boggo Road’………

  • Harold Pratt


    What happened to my suggestions; Bobby Helpmann, Peter Allen and Michael Kirby?

  • Beech


    I think bush ranger names like Jackey Jackey, Ned Kelly, Moondyne Joe, Captain Thunderbolt or Dan Kelly would be more fitting

  • ESLowe


    I’d drop vegemite;you might tempt unwitting foreigners to taste taste the vile stuff and that could put them off Qantas as well.

    The only reason Australians , except me, like the the gooey stuff is because it’s a quick-and-easy,cheap spread for toast….in other words they just grew up with it – it’s a hangover from childhood.

  • Peter C


    How about ” Nullabor ” ( Named after the Nullarbor Plain ) ((Plane Sorrry )))

  • Marcel


    Why not “Point Lookout” (Strathbrook Island) or “Coral garden”. “Flynder’s Reef”. “King’s Beach” (Caloundra)….But Skippy, Great Barriere Reef and Kookaburra are great too.

  • Bruce


    How about Billy Hart, the first person in Australia to get his pilot’s licence? At least it would cause people to look up a bit of our early flying history.

  • Peter Swan


    What happened to my suggestions of naming them after famous Australian Explorers or the first eight (8) after Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, King Island, Kangaroo Island, Rottnest Island, Melville Island and Thursday Island and the remainder after other Australian islands eg Hamilton Island, Pinchgut Island etc

  • Craig


    @Peter Swan. Some of your suggestions have already been used.

    OEB – Phillip Island
    OEE – Nullabor
    OJU – Lord Howe Island
    EBV – Kangaroo Island

  • Murray Howlett


    How about spelling lessons – for some of the commentators?

  • Dee Thom


    @beach, Jackey Jackey was one of the good guys who helped explorer Kennedy with his explorations, definitely not a Bushranger.

  • Ben


    @Marcel, Kings Beach is already on a VA jet.

  • Rocket


    @ Neko

    So, what would your brilliant suggestion be…

    Considering they asked specifically for names that were part of the ‘spirit’ of Australia I think most of them are very appropriate. I entered the competition and among others, I also suggested ‘Waltzing Matilda’, ‘Dreamtime’ and ‘Uluru’.

    Waltzing Matilda particularly is instantly associated with Australia everywhere in the world. What would you suggest instead “Tony Abbott” or “Grand Final Parade”…

    The shortlist contains some silly suggestions I’ll grant, for a start ‘Dame Joan Sutherland’… a woman who’s love for Australia didn’t extend to living here and who was quite an arrogant piece of work. Not sure about Vegemite either but it is quintessentially Australian.

  • Boris


    Just shows how backward this country is.. list could have been written in 1974. Does this really represent the ‘true spirit’ of modern Australia in 2017?

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