Before Qantas takes delivery of a brand-new fleet of eight shiny Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, some very important decisions have to be made.
Much like an expectant parent, Qantas is searching for the perfect names for the new additions to the family – and your help is required.
Australians are invited to enter up to eight different names, one for each of the Dreamliners, at Name Our Dreamliners. And before you go getting any Planey McPlaneface ideas, there are a few things Qantas CEO Alan Joyce wants potential name-givers to keep in mind.
“Reflecting the importance of the Dreamliner to the national carrier, we’re naming these eight aircraft after Australian icons,” he says. “They can be people, places or things, so long as they reflect the true spirit of Australia.”
So, what constitutes an Australian icon to you? Is it the larrikin Paul Hogan; a jar of Vegemite; or a rubber thong? Is it Doctor Fred Hollows; “foxy morons” Kath and Kim; or the ubiquitous expression “no worries, mate”?
“Whether it’s a notable person, a ground-breaking invention, a saying, or a landmark – we want eight icons that, together, reflect the depth and breadth of this place we all call home,” says Joyce.
All planes are given registrations – it’s how airlines and aviation authorities tell them apart. Individual names, though, are given for purely sentimental reasons. Since 1926, the naming of Qantas planes has adhered to various themes. First, it was Greek mythology, which saw Hermes, Pegasus and Apollo take to the skies (where they probably felt quite at home).
In 1947, a series of Lockheed L-749 Constellations took the names of Australian aviation luminaries such as Harry Hawker, Charles Kingsford Smith and Bert Hinkler. The Pacific, New Guinea and “Southern” – Southern Sky, Southern Aurora, Southern Star – were all themes until Australian cities took over from 1959 until 2008, interspersed with some Indigenous names, Australian explorers and native birds.
Since 2008, it’s been more Australian aviation pioneers including Australia’s first female commercial pilot Nancy Bird-Walton and Bert Hinkler got a second look-in – well, he did pilot the first solo flight from Britain to Australia in 1928.
And now, it’s your turn. Enter your suggestions – up to eight – by 26 May. A shortlist of 24 names will be announced on 28 May and the public is invited to vote on the final eight ahead of the announcement in early June.
Boeing will be awaiting news of the eight new names to emblazon on the front of each aircraft as the finishing touch before the first new Dreamliner takes off on its inaugural Qantas flight at the end of 2017.