Qantas to Name First A380 After Nancy Bird Walton

Sydney, 16 October 2005

Qantas will honour Australian pioneer aviatrix Nancy Bird Walton by naming its first A380 after her.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, made the announcement tonight during a special 90th birthday dinner hosted for Ms Bird Walton by the airline at the Qantas Heritage Collection at Sydney Airport (T3).

"Qantas and Nancy Bird Walton have been friends for many, many years, and she is greatly admired not only throughout the airline but throughout the industry," Mr Dixon said.

"I am delighted that Qantas will start a new era of air travel, with the A380, by carrying Nancy Bird Walton's name to the world."

Mr Dixon said Qantas had a well-established tradition of naming its aircraft, which could be traced back to the introduction of the first DH50 aircraft - named Iris by Lady Stonehaven, wife of the then Governor General, on 18 August 1926.

"Themes for the naming of aircraft have been wide and varied over the years," he said. "In 1929 for example, with the introduction of the DH61 aircraft, the theme was Grecian, with aircraft named Apollo, Diana, Hermes and Athena.

"In the flying boat era, we had Capella, Carpentaria, Challenger, Champion, Calypso and Camilla.

"Since then, the names of Australian destinations have dominated our choices, although in the 1980s aircraft carried inspirational names like Daring, Integrity, Resolute, Partnership and Unity, and one period featured Australian birdlife names such as Bellbird, Lorikeet and Kestrel."

Mr Dixon said Qantas had re-established the practice of giving aircraft Australian place names with the delivery of its first 737-800 (called Broome) in 2002, in recognition of the fact that the Qantas Group carried customers from towns and regional centres right across Australia.

He said aircraft names since 2002 had featured destinations from all States and Territories with recent examples including Evandale (Tasmania), Australind (Western Australia) Eudunda (South Australia), Queanbeyan (NSW), Cape Otway (Victoria), and Arnhem Land (Northern Territory), with the airline's new Qantas Airbus A330 in December to be called Cairns (Queensland).

"With the A380s, however, it is time to start a new tradition," Mr Dixon said.

"We believe that with the A380 set to revolutionise air travel, it is appropriate to honour Australia's aviation pioneers by carrying their names into the future," he said.

Mr Dixon said Qantas was currently assessing names for the other 11 A380s it had on order.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3336)