Qantas’ new Dreamliners named…Blue Swan doesn’t make the list and we aren’t happy

21 June, 2017

Qantas has finally revealed the names for its fleet of eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, the first of which is set to arrive in October this year. Despite a lengthy campaign, unfortunately you won’t be seeing Blue Swan streaming across the skies. Thanks Qantas. But maybe next time.

We couldn’t help but notice some other missing names on the list too. Vegemite launched a full social media campaign to have their name included in the list. I assume the team at Vegemite are as devastated as we are.

Qantas has a long history of naming its aircraft, which it admits is purely for sentimental and symbolic reasons.

In the 1920s, three of its first aircraft – small props that flew mail runs across outback Queensland – were given the lofty and mythical names of Perseus, Pegasus and Iris.

The Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft (which, as an aircraft type, went by simple abbreviation, Connies) all had the prefix “Southern” in the name – including Southern Sky and Southern Sea. When the jet age arrived the Boeing 707s and early 747s were named after Australia’s capital cities and major centres.

Qantas originally asked the public to name the aircraft in May-2017, with a dedicated website created to capture all suggestions. The only requirement being that the names reflect “the true Spirit of Australia”, including people, places or things that reflect the depth and breadth of Australia. It could be a notable person, a ground breaking invention, a piece of our culture, a saying, a man-made or natural landmark, anything that sums up what Australia means.

More than 60,000 suggestions were put forward and 45,000 votes cast in selecting the names of the aircraft that will fly routes including Perth-London and Melbourne-Los Angeles.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the public response to the challenge of naming the aircraft after things that captured the spirit of Australia was fantastic. In a statement Mr Joyce said, “we had so many worthwhile entries, we could have probably renamed our entire fleet of 208 aircraft.”

“There were some clear favourites and it’s given us a good mix of names for our eight Dreamliners, from landmarks to 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,” added Mr Joyce.

The final names include:

  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Boomerang
  • Skippy
  • Waltzing Matilda
  • Uluru
  • Great Southern Land
  • Quokka
  • Dreamtime

The names will be painted beneath the cockpit window on each aircraft. The sequencing of names will be revealed as the aircraft are delivered, with the first to arrive in October this year. Maybe Blue Swan doesn’t yet have the iconic halo that Skippy has. Or even Vegemite. But give it time. After all it is a bird.