Qantas today revealed a new livery and brand image for the carrier. This is only the fifth time the iconic red-and-white ‘Roo’ tail of Qantas aircraft has been updated since it was first introduced in 1944. The last update was actually more recent than you might realise, as it was tweaked with the introduction of the Airbus A380 back in 2007.
“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,” said Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce.
It’s all about visually communicating a more contemporary brand “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.
Spearheading the new design was Qantas consultant stalwart designer, Marc Newson, in partnership with Australian design agency Houston Group. Marc Newson, who has helped design Qantas’ lounges, the A380 cabin and the iconic Skybed stated, “Aircraft tails are fantastic canvas to work on and the Qantas logo is one of the most recognisable in the world. This re-design aims to retain the fundamental essence of the flying kangaroo but also move the brand forward.
“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,” Mr Newson added.
Some key 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 classic ‘Qantas red’ and white of the fuselage are unchanged.
Our take? Well we have to admit, it is a beautiful flowing form on the tail now, and still symbolic and recognisable for regular Qantas passengers. However with the removal of the ‘hands’ from the Roo now makes it less recognisable as a kangaroo, and actually pushes the logo closer to the Cathay Dragon and Turkish Airlines logos that also offer a similar white free-form shape on a red background, both also having presence in similar destinations outside of Australia. So for potential new passengers, there is a distinct chance of brand confusion with competitor airlines.
The word mark too, although clean and contemporary, feels like it is designed for today, rather than longevity. An issue with modern typefaces with distinct personalities is that they age very quickly. If Qantas is willing to constantly push forward the livery to keep a contemporary brand image (It’s only been 8 years since the last refresh) then this may not be an issue.
The New Interiors
It’s not just the 787-9 exterior that gets a modernisation. The Qantas Dreamliner will seat just 236 passengers across Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabins in a layout that has been “designed to maximise comfort for the longer distances the 787-9 is expected to fly.” and although no actual routes have been announced, they have been tipped to take over the 747 routes, and most of the longest routes on the network.
The Dreamliner cabin interiors and new economy seat, designed by Australian industrial designer David Caon, are a progression of the Qantas aesthetic established by Marc Newson.
The Business Suite is the next generation of the very popular seat recently installed on Qantas’ Airbus A330 fleet. These suites are known for providing a high level of privacy, made more flexible on the 787 with the ability to now adjust the divider between each seat. The great news for passengers is that every business class passenger will enjoy aisle access now.
While the new premium economy seat that will also feature on the 787 won’t be revealed until February 2017, the economy seat offers much of the comfort that is usually only reserved for premium economy passengers (although the airline has opted for the 787 industry standard with the narrower-than-usual 3 x 3 x 3 seating)
As well as an extra inch of seat pitch compared to the A380, the 787-9 features a new personal device holder and USB ports; more storage areas; a seat-back mood light designed to minimise disturbance for other passengers; and a high-definition entertainment touchscreen that is five per cent larger. The seats also feature an updated version of the popular Qantas ‘footnet’ first introduced on the A380, designed to cradle the legs during sleep.
Unveiling the Business and Economy seats in Sydney today, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the interiors had been carefully designed with longer routes and changing passenger preferences in mind. “Many of the cabin design elements reflect what our customers have told us. Personal storage rates really highly, so we’ve created extra space in Economy for customers to store their personal devices and water bottles.”
“We’re also redesigning the in-flight experience for the Dreamliner, from rethinking our menus to making better use of the self-service bars during different phases of flight,” added Mr Joyce.
Detail on initial Qantas Dreamliner destinations will be revealed in coming months, with the first international flights on sale before Christmas.