Qantas has included the nation’s most famous (or infamous according to some overseas visitors) breakfast spread Vegemite in its shortlist of potential names for its Boeing 787-9 fleet that also features a grab bag of prominent Australians, some “Great” landmarks and a smattering of local wildlife.
The 20-strong shortlist, based on input from the travelling public, was released on Thursday, with the final eight to be named on Wednesday, June 7.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline received about 40,000 responses from the travelling public since it called for nominations in mid-May.
“There were so many great entries that truly reflected the spirit of Australia and we’re thrilled with the response,” Joyce said in a statement.
“It was obvious that people really put some thought into different themes we could use to name our fleet of eight new Dreamliners including famous explorers to some of their favourite Aussie sayings.
“And it’s fair to say there were a few suggestions which we found very funny but probably not suitable for an aircraft that will be flying around the globe.”
There were four shortlisted nominations of people – cricketer Don Bradman, Doctor Fred Hollows, opera singer Joan Sutherland and tennis champion Evonne Goolagong.
Three Australian greats also made the cut, namely the Great Barrier Reef, Great Ocean Road and Great Southern Land. Australian Aviation is unsure whether the latter refers to the 1980s hit from Icehouse or a reference to the continent of Australia.
Similarly, True Blue is both the name of John Williamson’s folk song and a local slang term to emphasise patriotism. (As an aside, it is also the name of US carrier jetBlue’s frequent flyer program.)
And Jillaroo could be a reference to the nation’s women’s rugby league team or the female equivalent of a jackaroo or employee on an outback farm.
Vegemite was the only brand name that made the cut to be in the running to be adorned on one of the airline’s Dreamliners that will, initially, operate on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route before being deployed on the Perth-London Heathrow nonstop flight from March 2018.
One suggestion, put forward by Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus on Twitter, did not make the list.
Qantas has eight 787-9 Dreamliners on order, with options for a further 35. The first of the next generation Boeing twins is due to arrive in October.
The airline has a long-standing tradition of naming its aircraft, mostly after Australian cities, towns and places.
Exceptions in the current fleet include the Airbus A380s, which are named after prominent Australian aviation pioneers, the original Retro Roo 737-800 which is named after former airline CEO James Strong, and the New Zealand-based, Jetconnect-operated 737-800 subfleet, which is named after New Zealand pioneers.
The final 20
Great Barrier Reef
Great Ocean Road
Great Southern Land
Source : Australian Aviation