Qantas Changes Its Livery For the 787-9 Dreamliner – Spot The Difference

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Qantas has revealed an update to its livery as part of the introduction of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to its fleet in October 2017. This is the first update to the livery since Qantas introduced the A380 in 2007 and is only the fifth time the tail of Qantas aircraft has been updated since it was first introduced in 1944.

Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, revealed the new design alongside details of the new Business Class and Economy Class cabins that will appear in the airline’s new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Since the image of a kangaroo first appeared on a Qantas aircraft more than 80 years ago, it’s come to represent the spirit of Australia. When passengers see the Qantas tail at airports around the world, it’s a symbol of home

We wanted to make sure our brand remained familiar but we also wanted it to be more modern and dynamic, like the 787 and like Qantas.

When we looked at the history, we found that the logo has been updated around the time of a game-changing new aircraft joining the fleet. It’s a tradition that goes back to the Lockheed Constellation in 1947, the B747-300 in 1984 and the A380 in 2007.

A fresh brand helps symbolise the new era Qantas is entering as we head towards our centenary. It’s an era of new destinations, new technology and a new standard of service

Here is what the Qantas livery looks like right now…..

Qantas A380

….and here’s what the new livery will look like:


The changes to the tail are subtle but the font used for the lettering on the aircraft is noticeably different and I guess it does look a little bit more modern.

This is what Qantas consultant designer, Marc Newson, had to say:

This new brand is more streamlined and the shading behind the kangaroo gives a better sense of movement and depth. A silver band now extends from the tail to the rear of the fuselage, to give a more premium feel.

The typography for the word Qantas, which measures almost two metres high on the 787, has been carefully streamlined. And Qantas will appear on the aircraft’s belly, so you can tell when it’s the national carrier flying overhead

The new look will begin to appear across the Qantas network from today and, if you head to the airline’s home page, you’ll see the new logo already in place.


This is how Qantas has summarised the changes:

  • A streamlined Kangaroo on the tail of the aircraft, with shading to give it a sense of depth and movement. The Kangaroo itself has been simplified for a cleaner, more modern look.
  • A silver band has been added to the rear of the aircraft, flowing from the tail through to the rear of the fuselage for a more premium feel and more contrast between the red tail and the rest of the aircraft.
  • A new, slimmer font for the world ‘Qantas’ on the side of the aircraft and the colour made slightly lighter.
  • The word Qantas is added to the belly for increased visibility when aircraft are flying overhead.
  • Adding the Kangaroo to the inside curved edge of the wingtips so that they are in-flight and meaning they will also appear in pictures people take out the aircraft windows.
  • Replacing, centring and enlarging the Kangaroo that appears on outboard engine cowls, so that it is more prominent and identifiable.
  • Re-introducing the iconic ‘winged Kangaroo’ that featured on Qantas tails in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s by placing it under the cockpit window and integrating it with the aircraft name currently in this position (note: the actual aircraft names are unchanged).

The airline has released two videos to commemorate the old and the new.

The first, called “New Era, Same Spirit” celebrates where the airline has come from and where it now is (with the new Dreamliner)….

…and the second video, Dawn of a New Era, is a time-lapse video showing the first aircraft (a Qantas A330) getting the new livery:

Bottom Line

Changing a corporation’s logo/signage is a huge task and costs an incredible amount of money and, if I’m being honest, I don’t really see the point in this case.

When American changed its livery it was a huge change and one done for a reason – it signified the end of an old (bad) era and the dawn of a new (better) era for the airline. Whether that’s actually true or not is neither here nor there…that’s what the change was meant to represent and I can see why the airline would spend money to put out that message.

With Qantas it’s different. There doesn’t appear to be any actual need for a livery change so I’m not sure why the airline would go to all the expense of ordering one.

Personally I’d prefer to see the airline spend that kind of money on improving service and comfort levels for its customers rather than repainting an aircraft fleet that didn’t look out of date anyway…but perhaps I’m just begin a grumpy old man 🙂