Qantas 'Retro Roo II' Kicks Off 95-Year Salute

19 November 2015
Read Time: 1.5 mins

Sporting a 1960s retro livery, a newly reconfigured Qantas Boeing 737-800 (VH-VXQ) has been unveiled in Sydney as part of the national carrier's 95 years of flying celebration.

The retro livery originally appeared on the carrier's Boeing 707 jets from 1959 to 1961. Qantas was the first operator outside of the United States to provide regular passenger jet service between Sydney and San Francisco.


The 707 revolutionised the way airlines around the world operated by dramatically reducing the flying time. Qantas was the first operator to offer a round-the-world jet service with a total of 70 hours flying time compared to the 127 hours of the Super Constellation.

Today, a Qantas flight between Sydney and London via Dubai is 21 flying hours.

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 The original Qantas 707

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce described the vintage livery as a flying tribute to the airline's history of innovation.

“None of the past 95 years would have been possible without all those who have worked for Qantas with such commitment and passion. Tens of thousands of people have dedicated their whole careers to the national carrier and many who work here today are the third or fourth generation in their family to do so.

“As we celebrate our 95th birthday, I hope this livery inspires a sense of pride in what our national airline has achieved during all those years of taking Australians around the world and bringing them safely home again,” said Mr Joyce.

 Food service on the 707 back in the 60s

“A large part of the national pride people feel towards the flying kangaroo comes from the fact it has been responsible for so many innovations in global aviation.

“We were the first airline to introduce business class, we have operated record breaking endurance flights throughout our history and we’ve helped pioneer many breakthroughs in aviation technology.

“Innovation is still at the core of Qantas and we’re now looking to a new generation of aircraft with the arrival of Qantas’ first B787 Dreamliners in 2017. Like the 707 in 1959, these aircraft are at the cutting edge of aviation and we’re really excited about the opportunities they’ll open up for our customers."

 A blast from the past: Qantas' Retro Roo II is a splitting image of the 707

Retro Roo II is the second 737 aircraft to fly the vintage livery. Retro Roo I launched last November, featuring the livery of 1971-1984, and is popular among passengers and airline enthusiasts alike.

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Jason Dutton-Smith

I’m a passionate traveller and a first class nomad wannabe. I have a love for the written word and enjoy sharing stories that inspire travel. I like ordinary but love extraordinary. I’ll dance and sing karaoke to anything 80’s, will drink hot tea even if 40 degrees, love food and have a wicked sweet tooth. Architecture excites me, the window seat thrills me and anything aviation enamours me. I’m a perpetual dreamer who lives by Saint Augustine’s wise words – “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. My intention is to read War and Peace!