Qantas Flies Indigenous Aircraft to Canberra in Honour of Reconciliation

Sydney, 25 May 2007

Indigenous Qantas Captain, Andrew Bishop, will pilot a special flight carrying more than 80 Reconciliation Australia guests to Canberra today to attend the commemorative events marking the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.

Captain Bishop, whose uncle, Joe McGuiness, was one of the campaigners for a 'Yes' vote in the 1967 referendum, will be joined by a predominantly Indigenous team of Flight Attendants operating the special service.

Also on board will be Reconciliation Australia patron Evonne Goolagong-Cawley and campaigners from 40 years ago, including Janelle Marshall who was the infant face depicted on the referendum poster.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said the service would be operated by the airline's specially painted B737-800 aircraft, Yananyi Dreaming - one of three aircraft in the Qantas fleet to carry striking Aboriginal artwork.

"We are delighted that Dr John Moriarty, who was behind the design of all three of our painted aircraft, will be joining the flight," Mr Dixon said.

"The 1967 referendum is an important event in Australia's history and is regarded as being the first stage of the reconciliation movement in Australia," he said.

"As a major Australian employer Qantas recognises the importance of bridging the gap between Indigenous and non Indigenous communities.

"Qantas has been running Indigenous employment programs since 1988 and we intend to double employment opportunities for Indigenous people either as Qantas employees or via our third Party Suppliers by the end of 2008."

Mr Dixon said that Qantas was taking steps over the coming year to deepen its relationship with Reconciliation Australia, with a particular focus on increasing Indigenous initiatives within the airline.

He said initiatives already under way included:

* implementation of a Qantas Reconciliation Action Plan including a commitment to increase Indigenous employment opportunities both inside Qantas and with its third-party suppliers;
* increased Indigenous content on Qantas in-flight entertainment programs; and
* sponsorship of the Future Directions Forum for emerging national leaders to be held next week to discuss ways of ending Indigenous disadvantage in the community.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (Q3585)