Qantas Pays Tribute to Nancy-Bird Walton

Sydney, 13 January 2009

Qantas today paid tribute to the life of pioneering Australian aviatrix Nancy-Bird Walton, who has died in Sydney, aged 93.

The aviation legend learned to fly under the tutelage of Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and in the 1930s was the first Australian woman to operate a commercial aircraft. In 1935, Nancy-Bird operated an air ambulance service in outback New South Wales. In 1950, she founded the Australian Women Pilots Association, which provides mentoring and support to women pilots to this day.

In October 2008, Qantas named its first A380 aircraft the Nancy-Bird Walton, in honour of Nancy-Bird's contribution to Australian aviation.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Alan Joyce, said Nancy-Bird had been a trail blazer for Australian women pilots and an inspirational figure in Australian aviation.

"We are so proud that our first A380 is named after Nancy-Bird and will carry her name into the future," Mr Joyce said.

"Nancy-Bird's boundless energy, her courage and her vision for the role of women in aviation represented the best of Australia."

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3872)