Qantas unveils new Indigenous-inspired livery for latest 787-9

Sally McMullen 14 February 2018

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The aircraft is the fourth to join the 787-9 fleet and is named after the late artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

Qantas has unveiled a special livery honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians on its latest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner today.

The livery features the work of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye, an internationally revered artist and senior Anmatyerre woman from the Northern Territory. It’s inspired by her painting Yam Dreaming (1991) and has been adapted for the aircraft by Indigenous-owned studio Balarinji. The latest aircraft in the 787-9 Dreamliner series, the aircraft will be named Emily Kame Kngwarreye to pay tribute to the artist herself.

The striking red, white and gold artwork portrays the yam plant. It’s an important symbol in Emily’s Dreaming stories as well as a staple source of food in her home region of Utopia, which is around 230 km north-east of Alice Springs.qantas-plane-livery738x410

The new carrier will be registered VH-ZND and is the fourth to enter the new fleet, following Great Southern Land, Waltzing Matilda and Quokka. It will be welcomed to Australia by Emily’s family with a special arrival event in Alice Springs on 2 March 2018, before flying on routes like Melbourne to Los Angeles and Perth to London.

As well as being a beautiful sight for sore eyes in the sky, Qantas hopes the livery will showcase another piece of Indigenous culture while affirming its commitment to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“As the national carrier we’re thrilled to showcase another piece of Indigenous culture on one of our aircraft, and to reiterate our ongoing commitment to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

“It’s a beautiful, bold artwork and so we hope it catches people’s eyes and sparks a conversation about our country’s dynamic Indigenous culture.”

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This isn’t the first time the airline has revamped its livery to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, culture and stories. Since 1994, it has commissioned four different Indigenous liveries on Boeing 747s and 737s as part of its Flying Art series. However, Emily Kame Kngwarreye is the second flying art aircraft currently in service alongside a B737-800, named Mendoowoorrji.

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