The latest aircraft in Qantas’ Indigenous Flying Art series has touched down in Sydney, showing its new Aboriginal inspired livery design. This is the 69th B737-800 in the Qantas Group fleet and is a flying tribute to the world’s oldest continuing culture.
The livery on the brand new 737-800 aircraft was inspired by the work of late West Australian Aboriginal painter, Paddy Bedford. The aircraft named “Mendoowoorrji” is the fourth aircraft in Qantas’ flying art series, all of which have been in partnership with Australian designers Balarinji.
The aircraft was greeted on arrival by Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce and Minister for Tourism, George Souris.
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said he was excited to see the aircraft for the first time as it touched down in Sydney from Boeing’s factory in Seattle.
“As the national carrier, Qantas has a proud history of featuring Indigenous art throughout its fleet and we are pleased to welcome the newest aircraft in our Indigenous flying art series,” said Mr Joyce.
“The aircraft is a tribute to Aboriginal art and culture and is aimed at promoting cultural diversity and appreciation of Australia’s Indigenous heritage,” Mr Joyce added.
Mr Souris said that Sydney and NSW were pleased to welcome this new addition to the Qantas fleet.
“Sydney and NSW extend a warm welcome to this new Qantas aircraft, Mendoowoorrji, and its wonderful contemporary art which captures the essence of our landscape and heritage. I am sure that international and domestic travellers will be thrilled to travel in such a wonderful aircraft,” Mr Souris said.
The artwork on the B737 is an interpretation of the 2005 painting “Medicine Pocket” which captures the essence of Mendoowoorrji, Paddy Bedford’s mother’s country in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. The aircraft itself has been named Mendoowoorrji in honour of this.
For this project, Qantas and Balarinji collaborated with the Bedford Trust and the National Gallery of Australia to ensure design of the fuselage stayed true to the original painting.
Qantas and Balarinji Design Studio have worked together for over two decades on aircraft livery projects and design work, including the current Qantas uniform. Balarinji designed the first Indigenous livery “Wunala Dreaming” on a B747 aircraft in 1994.
“It is a privilege to once again work with Qantas on an iconic Indigenous art aircraft, especially in our studio’s thirtieth year. Our partnership with Qantas is a wonderful celebration of Indigenous design, which carries artwork from the world’s oldest continuing culture to all corners of the globe.”
This latest livery is an interpretation of the 2005 painting “Medicine Pocket” which captures the essence of Mendoowoorrji,
For the first time in the airline’s 93 year history, the iconic Qantas tail has been included in the design, with the airline’s trademark red tail colour behind the white kangaroo altered to match the earthy tones of Paddy Bedford’s art work.
The aircraft flew back to Australia via Fiji with a group of dignitaries on board and arrived to a traditional Indigenous welcome at Sydney Airpoet.
“Mendoowoorrji” will fly to Broome and Canberra for promotional visits in the coming weeks after it enters service across the Qantas domestic network from mid-November. It will also operate east-west and intra WA flights as part of its regular scheduled services.
This is the 69th B737-800 in the Qantas Group fleet, with six additional aircraft to join between now and the end of 2014. With an average age of 7.9 years, the Qantas fleet is now its lowest since privatisation.