Qantas goes retro to celebrate flying kangaroo logo’s 70th birthday

Qantas has taken a step back in time by painting ‘retro’ livery on one of its new Boeing 737 aircraft to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the flying kangaroo’s first appearance in the company’s logo.


The airline says the design is a tribute to 70 years of the iconic ‘flying kangaroo’ brand mark, which first appeared in 1944 in a roundel with the words, ‘Qantas Empire Airways Kangaroo Service’.

To celebrate, a brand new Boeing 737 has been painted with an ochre strip and typography from the 70s, and the tail fin has a winged kangaroo that first appeared in the company’s 1947 logo.

Qantas ambassador and aviation enthusiast, John Travolta, himself an icon of the 70s, was on hand to see Qantas and Boeing unveil the aircraft at a special hangar event in Seattle, timed to mark the 70th anniversary of the kangaroo logo.

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Group executive for brand, marketing and corporate affairs, Olivia Wirth said having the retro livery on a new aircraft is a celebration not only of the famous logo and the airline’s proud heritage but a reminder of the pioneering role that Qantas has held in the global aviation market.

“For 70 years our logo has been a symbol of aviation innovation, but also a reminder that home is never far away,” said Wirth. “Qantas holds a special place in the Australian psyche, and we know for many of our customers this livery will inspire a fond trip down memory lane. It’s a bit of a time warp having a 1970s livery on one of our brand new B737 aircraft but it’s the perfect way to highlight the years of experience behind the contemporary airline Qantas is today.”

Qantas logo kangaroo history


Manero Travolta said the retro livery has brought back lots of memories for him: “It’s great to see a piece of Qantas history flying in the sky today,” he said. “I have enjoyed many wonderful experiences with Qantas over the years, from getting my 747 wings to having my own 707 painted in the original 1960s Qantas livery. This is a great celebration of the brand’s heritage and incredible reputation over the years.

“I feel a great sense of pride just looking at this aircraft here today. Australia is lucky to have an airline like Qantas as its national carrier,” he said.

The signature element of the 1971-1984 livery design was the ochre band around the window line of the aircraft. Ochre reflected the colours of the outback where Qantas was established in 1920.

The winged kangaroo logo is used on the tail and was adapted from the original 1947 version designed by Gert Sellheim.

Qantas 1970s retro campaign 600w


In 1984 the flying kangaroo discarded its wings, evolving to its current slender and stylised form.

The 737 will operate across all Qantas domestic routes from 20 November.

The livery is also timed to mark the Qantas’ 94th birthday, which also falls in November.

Qantas winged kangaroo tail fin logo 1947 2014 600w







Peter Roper
BY Peter Roper ON 17 November 2014
Editor of Marketing. Tweets as @pete_arrr.