Qantas Launches 737-800 Fleet With Aboriginal Welcome

SYDNEY, 14 February 2002

Qantas today officially launched its fleet of 15 new Qantas Boeing 737-800s by unveiling one of the aircraft painted in a spectacular Aboriginal collaborative design by Sydney's Balarinji Studio and Uluru indigenous artist Rene Kulitja.

The aircraft, named Yananyi Dreaming, was welcomed to Australia with a special Inma ceremony performed by singers and dancers from Rene's Mutitjulu community in Uluru. Qantas Executive General Manager Sales and Marketing, John Borghetti, said the twin-engine 737-800 Next Generation aircraft featuring the latest Boeing technology and design would become the single-aisle flagship aircraft of the Qantas domestic fleet.

"The 737-800 fleet will fly routes serving Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Cairns and Ayers Rock," he said.

Qantas announced the purchase of 15 new B737-800s in October 2001, costing approximately A$1.5 billion and being delivered progressively by August this year to meet the demand created by the collapse of Ansett Airlines and to provide growth in all sections of the Australian tourism industry.

The aircraft are being delivered with an eight Business/150 Economy Class seat configuration.

Features of the aircraft include:

* an overall length of 39.5 metres, 6.1 metres longer and 6.9 metres wider in span than the "classic" B737-300s in operation today;

* twin CFM56-7B26 engines;

* a maximum passenger flying range of approximately 2,600 nautical miles (nm) which is between 400 nm and 600 nm greater than current B737 aircraft;

* distinctive 2.5 metre winglets that give the aircraft greater range with less "drag", providing a more fuel efficient and cost effective operation;

* the latest inflight entertainment system, including Matsushita drop down LCD video monitors;

* modern in-cabin overhead stowage bins;

* contemporary styling and lighting;

* a "sliding carpet" baggage and freight loading system in the hold that makes loading and unloading safer and easier for ramp staff;

* a Head Up Display that projects information onto a clear screen at the level of the cockpit windows, enhancing the accuracy of take offs and approaches for landings; and

* a Flight Management System (FMS) including dual Global Positioning System (GPS) as in the B747-400, enhancing approach capability at airports without ground navigational beacons.

Mr Borghetti said up to 90 pilots were scheduled to be trained on the B737-800 - initially by Boeing in Seattle - by August 2002.

"We have also purchased a simulator to be installed at Essendon by October this year, which will enable all B737 pilots to undergo training so the new aircraft can be operated under a mixed fleet policy," Mr Borghetti said.

Around 120 Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (LAMES) and 2,400 short haul cabin crew are also undergoing training for the aircraft. Mr Borghetti said ground preparation for the new aircraft included adjustments to gate allocations, facilities and bay markings to cater for the increased wingspan.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2627)