19 December 2014 © David Eyre

AAWA has again compiled a list of fire fighting and support aircraft in Western Australia for the 2014 /2015 Summer bush fire season (Oct 2014 – Apr 2015). This is located under the Aviation Lists section of our website.

Photos of fire fighting aircraft will be added under the Aircraft Photos section.

Fire fighting in Whiteman Park – Sunday 14 Dec 2014

Fire fighting in Whiteman Park – Sunday 14 Dec 2014
Photo © Matt Hayes.

A6-EDE Airbus A380-861 (cn 017) of Emirates, lining up for take-off from runway 21 at Perth on 15 August 2009.

A6-EDE Airbus A380-861 (cn 017) of Emirates, lining up for take-off from runway 21 at Perth on 15 August 2009.
The aircraft had been en-route from Dubai to Sydney was forced to divert to Perth Airport at 6am, after a female passenger was thought to have suffered a stroke (later found to be a virus). This was the second visit by an A380 (first was a promotional visit by VH-OQA of Qantas on 14 October 2008) and the first by an Emirates A380. The Airbus departed for Sydney at 4:37 pm.
Photo © John Krepp

16 December 2014

Emirates has today formally announced the planned introduction of the Airbus A380 on services between Dubai and Perth, with the aircraft replacing Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on the evening EK420/421 service from 1 May 2015.

The EK424/425 early morning service and midday EK422/423 service will continue to use a mix of Boeing 777-200LR and 777-300ER aircraft.

The A380 will provide an additional 1,834 seats on the route each week, less than 12 months since Qantas ceased providing regular international services from Perth.

The A380 is popular with passengers, who prefer its quieter and more spacious interior. The A380 has a 10-abreast seating configuration as used in the Boeing 777, but the 777 is narrower, making it somewhat less comfortable. The A380 features private first class suites, fully flat beds for business class (compared to the angled lie-flat seats in the Boeing 777), inflight showers and a bar (for first and business class passengers).

EK420 departs Dubai at 2:55am local time, arriving at Perth by 5:35pm. It then departs Perth as EK421 at 10:10pm, arriving in Dubai at 5:25am the following morning.

Perth Airport’s runway and taxiways have been capable of taking A380s for a number of years. Emirates had been waiting for progress on Perth Airport’s $700 million redevelopment program, including the construction of A380-capable dual split-level aerobridges, upgrades to the arrival and departure facilities and a new Emirates Lounge.

The first of the A380 aerobridges was constructed at Bay 51, at the southern end of Terminal 1 (International). It was planned to be completed in June 2013, but delays during construction and technical issues postponed its opening until December 2013.  A second A380 aerobridge is also being constructed on the new Virgin Australia International/Domestic Pier, which is currently under construction for completion in January 2015.

Emirates is also building a new, much larger lounge at Perth, located under Emirates’ current lounge. Construction will start in January 2015, for completion by 31 May 2015.

The first A380 to visit Perth was a special promotional (non-revenue) flight by Qantas’ A380 VH-OQA on 14 October 2008.  A number of A380s have visited since then, but only because of medical emergency diversions – six from Emirates (A6-EDE, A6-EDA, A6-EEH, A6-EEO, A6-EDP and A6-EEU) and two from Qantas (VH-OQB and VH-OQG). These aircraft were all headed to or from Eastern States cities.

Media reports in June 2013 stated that the start date was to be March 2014, and air traffic slot allocations showed a start date of 29 March 2014. However, Emirates made no official announcement at that time. Emirates crews were being advised of a potential 1 July 2014 start date, but this too did not eventuate, even when the midday EK422/423 service was temporarily suspended due to runway works at Dubai.

Emirates has 56 A380s in service, with another 84 on order. The airline is pushing Airbus to develop new versions of the aircraft, with newer, more fuel efficient engines, as well as a larger version.

VH-OIU Aquila Aviation AT01-211 (A210) (MSN AT01-254) of Advanced Cockpit Flight Training (ACFT) at Jandakot Airport - Fri 5 September 2014. Landing on runway 06L. Photo © David Eyre

VH-OIU Aquila Aviation AT01-211 (A210) (MSN AT01-254) of Advanced Cockpit Flight Training (ACFT) at Jandakot Airport – Fri 5 September 2014.
Landing on runway 06L.
Photo © David Eyre

15 December 2014

Advanced Cockpit Flight Training (ACFT) ceased flight training operations on 24 November 2014 and administrators were appointed effective from 15 December 2014.

Students of the Jandakot-based ACFT reported on social media that the company had poor accounting practices and that ACFT had a legal dispute with Edith Cowan University over a contract to deliver flight training services.

The following notice was placed on the ACFT website:

To all ACFT students and customers:

Most of you will be aware that ACFT was closed temporarily on November 24th as a result of an ongoing legal dispute that has resulted in the failure a substantial training contract. On legal advice we cannot comment on the dispute at this time, other than to restate our sincere apologies to those students affected, and we can confirm that we are no longer able to provide any flight training to those students.

We confirm that for the immediate future flight training operations at ACFT will continue to be suspended, and we are unlikely to be able to offer services for the remainder of 2014 and until further notice. The organisation is undergoing a restructure and we hope to be making an announcement in the coming weeks as to the longer term future of ACFT.

To Our Retail Students:

Since November 24th we have been working towards a solution for you to be able to continue your flight training. We understand that most students would prefer to remain with their instructors, and you may have already discussed with your instructor how you would prefer to continue your flight training. As a result of a kind offer from Thunderbird Aero Service, several of our instructors including Trent, Christian and Duane have accepted the invitation to conduct flight training for retail students through Thunderbird to provide an ongoing service to ACFT’s retail students. For those of you who were training on the DA-20, DA-40 or Seminole, there will be no change. For those training on a different aircraft type, please coordinate with your instructor regarding your preferred aircraft type, and we will do our best to see that your needs are met.

For those that would like continue their flight training under this arrangement, please feel free to contact either your flight instructor, contact us at reception@acft.com.au, or contact Thunderbird directly on 9417 7377 or email info@thunderbirdaero.com.au ACFT will ensure the timely transfer of all student records to allow your training to continue without further delay.

We wish you all the best for your flight training, and for a Merry Christmas and Happy and prosperous 2015.

Fly Safe,
Mark Thoresen
Managing Director

7 September 2014 (UPDATED 10 December 2014)

Scoot Airlines is to replace the current Boeing 777-200ER aircraft used on Singapore – Perth services from 1 February 2015 (subject to change) with a daily Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service.

Scoot commenced its Singapore – Perth services in December 2013, using a fleet of six Boeing 777-200ER from parent company Singapore Airlines (SIA).

Perth will be the inaugural route for the Scoot 787s.

20 Boeing 787-9s were originally ordered by SIA, but SIA later decided to transfer the 787s to Scoot, which has now split the order into 10 Boeing 787-8s and ten of the larger Boeing 787-9s.

Scoot will take delivery of Boeing 787-9s from November 2014. The Scoot 787s were originally scheduled from 29 March 2015, then it was brought forward to 1 January 2015, delayed it to 16 January 2015, and again to 1 February 2015.

The first of the smaller 787-8 Dreamliners will be delivered in mid-2015. The current Boeing 777-200ER fleet with then be retired and Scoot will become an all-787 operator.

Schedule will be as follows:

(daily)

  • TZ008 Depart Singapore 1310 – Arrive Perth 1815
  • TZ007 Depart Perth 1910 – Arrive Singapore 0010 +1 (the following day).


TIME LAPSE VIDEO: Scoot’s first Boeing 787 being built:

9V-OTA Boeing 777-212ER (MSN 28507/67) of Scoot, named ‘Barry’, at Perth Airport - Thu 17 July 2014. ‘SCOOTER 008’ from Singapore, landing on runway 03 at 17:25. Photo © David Eyre

9V-OTA Boeing 777-212ER (MSN 28507/67) of Scoot, named ‘Barry’, at Perth Airport – Thu 17 July 2014.
‘SCOOTER 008’ from Singapore, landing on runway 03 at 17:25.
Photo © David Eyre

3 December 2014 – Copyright © David Eyre

VH-OPH Cessna 208 Caravan floatplane (MSN 20800157) of Catalina Airlines – 3 Dec 2014.

VH-OPH Cessna 208 Caravan floatplane (MSN 20800157) of Catalina Airlines – 3 Dec 2014.
Making their first test landing on the Swan River close to the City of Perth, Catalina Adventures
expect to open seaplane tours in February, 2015 in this 13 seat Cessna caravan.
Many thanks to the guys at Catalina Adventures for allowing us to photograph the event, up close and personal, from their Jet boat, greatly appreciated.
Photo © Keith Anderson.

Seaplane trial on Swan River

Catalina Airlines Mack McCormack, an ex-SAS trooper and WA Entrepreneur of the Year, believes that his seaplane business could be a boost for tourism. The airline wants to fly passengers to Rottnest, the Abrolhos islands (off Geraldton), Mandurah, Margaret River region (Busselton) and other sightseeing, diving and snorkelling destinations, and the idea is to save tourists from having to drive hours to get there.

In preparation for commercial operations, Catalina Airlines conducted a test flight to and from the Swan River today, using Cessna 208 Caravan amphibious floatplane VH-OPH. Today’s flight was the first since the seaplane operations area had marker buoys added. Catalina Adventures owner Mack McCormack was aboard and the aircraft was flown by an experienced former Qantas pilot, Lynden Williams.   A previous test flight had been conducted on 18 October 2013.

A support boat checked the landing area for marine and bird life and other watercraft before take-off and landing, and advised the pilot by radio that it was clear.

VH-OPH departed Jandakot Airport and landed on the river in perfect conditions at 9:26am. Checks were made to ensure that the support boat had adequate clearance below the wing and support strut of the aircraft. Pilot Lynden Williams then had to get back into the air to meet air traffic slot times and the aircraft started up again and took off at 9:59am. It flew to Rottnest Island Airport (on land) before later returning to Jandakot.

The site allocated on the Swan River for the seaplane operations is in an area marked with buoys, running in an east-west direction on Melville Water west of Mill Point Road, South Perth. It is sandwiched between the south side of the South Perth PWC Freestyling Area (jet-ski area), and north side of Milyu Marine Park and Nature Reserve.

The test flight followed two years of battling to obtain approvals from various regulators, including the CASA, the Swan River Trust, Department of Transport, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Environment Regulation, Department of Aboriginal Affairs, City of Perth and others.

Red Tape and Green Tape

In 2012, Mack McCormack applied to operate seaplanes from the sheltered South Perth side of the river, opposite Perth city. Earlier commercial seaplane operations had been based there in the 1980s.

However, local Liberal MP John McGrath opposed the location, concerned about potential collisions with amateur yachts. Mr McGrath suggested a site near the Old Swan Brewery on the Crawley side of the Narrows, so plans were changed accordingly.

The Swan River Trust were concerned about the aircraft hitting dolphins and seabirds, so they asked the airline to do environmental studies, but there had been no recorded aircraft/dolphin collisions anywhere in the world. By December 2012, the Swan River Trust wrote to Mr McCormack, stating that there were “no major issues” with the planned operations.

In October 2013, a year after the original application was lodged, the Trust ordered Mr McCormack to reapply for permission to land seaplanes on the river, because the proposed landing site had been shifted from east to west of the Narrows Bridge and regulators would need to assess the “new” location.

Before approving a test flight on the river, the Trust wanted a separate application and data on seaplane noise. The first test flight landed on the river on 18 October 2013, and regulators measured noise levels, which were 12 decibels below those recommended by the then Department of Environment and Conservation. In late November 2013, the Trust gave conditional approval to commence a 12-month trial of commercial seaplane operations, but required Catalina Airlines to submit additional operational information details and obtain approvals from all other relevant authorities before flights start.

Mr Cormack says that the slow and bureaucratic approval process has delayed his operation by two years and cost him millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Commercial operations approvals

Approval has been granted for a 12-month trial period, using an 11-passenger Cessna 208 Caravan seaplane for a maximum of eight flights per day (16 movements), between 8am and 5.30pm seven days a week. Catalina Adventures intend to start the 12-month trial from February 2015, subject to final approval from CASA.

Following the 12-month trial, the Swan River Trust will assess the environmental and community impacts of the operation before making any decisions on the long-term use of the river by commercial seaplanes. The Swan River Trust may consider extending the seaplane trial by another six months, to allow for the operation to run over two peak periods, if continuation of the trial will not impact on the community, wildlife or waterway.

The Swan River Trust stated that “The proximity of the seaplane landing area to Milyu Marine Park and Nature Reserve was one of the major considerations for the Trust, as this area has been set aside as a refuge for migratory wading birds protected under international agreements.”

“In an effort to protect birdlife, the seaplanes and support vessel are not permitted to enter the Milyu Marine Park and an exclusion/ no fly zone has been established 300 metres from the shore to minimise shadowing and disturbance of birds in the area.

“Restricting the seaplanes from flying close to the Como foreshore will also greatly reduce any noise impacts on nearby residences.”

In order to generate the most lift and shorten the take-off or landing run, aircraft usually fly against the wind. However, under the conditions imposed by the regulators, the aircraft must land from west to east (from the centre of Melville Water towards South Perth), and take off in the opposite direction. This may cause difficulties if wind conditions are unfavourable. The aircraft will be required to divert to Jandakot and bus the passengers to Barrack Street Jetty.

In accordance with conditions imposed by the Swan River Trust, the aircraft moors at a yellow buoy more than 300 metres offshore, with a boat carrying passengers between the aircraft and shore. The seaplane cannot be left moored on the river overnight and must be washed down, refuelled and maintained at Jandakot or Perth Airports.

If the conditions of approval are breached or the seaplane operations impact upon wildlife, the operation may be cancelled immediately.

Planned destinations for the seaplane

  • Rottnest Snorkelling – 12 minutes flight from Perth
  • Sightseeing Flight – From Perth down the Swan River, over Fremantle and Rottnest and back again. 30 minutes round trip
  • Diving Safari – HMAS Swan / Cape Dive (Cape Naturaliste)
  • Dunsborough
  • Margaret River

 Update on Grumman G-111 Albatross VH-NMO

VH-NMO Grumman G-111 Albatross (MSN G-464) of Catalina Airlines Pty Ltd, at Jandakot Airport – Fri 18 July 2014. This was the last Grumman Albatross built. A total of 418 Grumman Albatross aircraft were built between 1947 and 1961. Built in 1961, ex Bu No 148329, 9056 (JMSDF), N88999, PK-PAM, N26PR, N42MY. Recently moved, this Albatross is now parked near Dunn Aviation (the former airport fire station). Since arriving at Jandakot in April 2012, it only made a few flights during February 2013. With a maximum take-off weight of 13882kg, it exceeds the weight limits for operation from Jandakot, and had to apply for special dispensation to be parked here. The owner, Mack McCormack, initially planned to base the Albatross in Broome and use the aircraft to fly tourist and charter flights in and around the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Mr McCormack later announced that he intended to begin flying boat flights Perth’s Swan River to the Abrolhos Islands, off the coast of Geraldton from April 2013, with operations to be expanded into the Kimberley region later. Despite some promotional flights from Geraldton to the Abrolhos Islands in February 2013, the aircraft has since remained on the ground at Jandakot Airport. Photo © David Eyre

VH-NMO Grumman G-111 Albatross (MSN G-464) of Catalina Airlines Pty Ltd, at Jandakot Airport – Fri 18 July 2014.
This was the last of 418 Grumman Albatross aircraft that were built, between 1947 and 1961. Built in 1961, ex Bu No 148329, 9056 (JMSDF), N88999, PK-PAM, N26PR, N42MY.
Since arriving at Jandakot in April 2012, it only made a few demonstration flights to Geraldton and the Abrolhos Islands in February 2013, as the company has been awaiting regulatory approvals.
Photo © David Eyre

Mack McCormack advised AAWA that Grumman Albatross will fly to Tocumwal on the NSW/Victoria border in February or March 2015, to have its 100-hourly maintenance work completed, before returning to Jandakot.

Mr McCormack would like to be able to use the 24-seat Albatross on the Swan River seaplane operation, but approval has only been granted for the smaller Cessna Caravan seaplane.

As the Albatross is a larger aircraft with different noise characteristics, it would require a review of the approval conditions, and it would also and be required to be moored further away from the shore.

AAWA wishes to thank Catalina Airlines for kindly providing access to photograph the trial flight.

28 November 2014 – David Eyre

VH-FNA Fokker 50 (MSN 20106) of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, named “Rockingham Beach”, at Perth Airport – Wed 19 February 2014. Photo © David Eyre

VH-FNA Fokker 50 (MSN 20106) of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, named “Rockingham Beach”, at Perth Airport – Wed 19 February 2014.
VH-FNA is the only Fokker 50 to be painted in Virgin Australia livery – all of the others in the fleet will retain their Skywest livery until they are retired and replaced by ATR72s.
Photo © David Eyre

Virgin Australia Regional Airlines will cut the number of flights between Perth and Albany, Busselton, Esperance and Ravensthorpe from 5 December 2014.

The carrier will eliminate 11 out of the current 40 flights per week, a move which has been criticised as a blow to business and tourism.

The new schedule reduce Albany services from 20 flights per week to 15 and Esperance flights from 18 to 13 per week.

These routes are regulated by the WA Department of Transport, to ensure their commercial viability.

Industry associations have noted that at the end of the consultation regarding the proposed service reductions, the State Government said that they did not support it, but have now reversed the decision.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said that the department had ensured that the service reductions were not as severe as Virgin had originally planned.

The City of Albany said it would support a reduction in the number of flights only if the overall passenger numbers remained the same, such as switching some flights to Fokker 100 jet aircraft, instead of Fokker 50 turboprops.

VH-LQG Bombardier DHC-8-402NG Dash 8 Q400 (MSN 4376) of QantasLink (leased from Sunstate Airlines), named "Town of Exmouth", at Perth Airport – Fri 18 July 2014.

VH-LQG Bombardier DHC-8-402NG Dash 8 Q400 (MSN 4376) of QantasLink (leased from Sunstate Airlines), named “Town of Exmouth”, at Perth Airport – Fri 18 July 2014.
Taxying for a runway 03 departure at 4:41 pm
Photo © Keith Anderson

25 November 2014

QantasLink is to withdraw the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 from Western Australia from 29 March 2015.

The company announced the changes as a result of changes to their network and schedule to better match capacity with demand, as well as increasing aircraft utilisation.

All QantasLink services out of Perth will be operated by either QantasLink Boeing 717s or Network Aviation Fokker 100s (Network is owned by Qantas Group). Network Fokker 100s are already being used on weekend services to Geraldton, in place of the QantasLink Q400s.

The new schedule will be published around 4 December 2014, with the network changes coming into effect on 29 March 2015.

Dash 8-Q400 services began with Perth – Geraldton and Perth – Learmonth services from 21 November 2011. Two aircraft are based at Perth, VH-LQD and VH-LQG. The original plan was for three or four aircraft to be based here.

ZS-SLF Airbus A340-212 (MSN 006) of South African Airways at Perth Airport - Sat 16 November 2013.

ZS-SLF Airbus A340-212 (MSN 006) of South African Airways at Perth Airport – Sat 16 November 2013.
This early production A340-200 was the final -200 in the South African Airways fleet, and was normally used as a backup aircraft when the A340-300s and A340-600s are unavailable.
Flight SA280 from Johannesburg, landing on runway 03 at 12:45.
Photo © Clyde Lannan

South African Airways Airbus A340-212 ZS-SLF is to be scrapped at Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport in the south of France.

ZS-SLF was a regular visitor to Perth on the dail SA280/SA281 service from Johannesburg.

It was an early production A340 (MSN 006) and the fourth oldest airworthy A340 at the time of its withdrawal. It was also the final A340-200 remaining in the SAA fleet, being used as a spare aircraft when other aircraft were unserviceable.

ZS-SLF performed its final revenue service on 13 June 2014 as SA265 from Munich to Johannesburg. It was then repainted all-white and on 29 June 2014 was flown to Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées for spares removal and scrapping.

9M-XXT Airbus A330-343 (MSN 1549) of Air Asia X in special “Xcintillating PhoeniX” livery

9M-XXT Airbus A330-343 (MSN 1549) of Air Asia X in special “Xcintillating PhoeniX” livery
at Perth Airport – Wed 1 Oct 2014.
Taxying for a runway 03 departure at 4:14 pm.
Photo © Keith Anderson.

20 November 2014

Following significant losses and as a result of excess capacity, AirAsia X is making changes to its fleet and schedule

Fleet changes

AirAsia / AirAsia X group will sell aircraft, defer new aircraft deliveries and wet-lease excess capacity to other airlines.

IAAX fleet grows by one aircraft for a fleet of three A330-300s and the TAAX fleet grows by three aircraft for a fleet of five A330-300s.

AirAsia X also expects IAAX and TAAX to account for a majority and potentially all of the deliveries in 2016 and 2017.

  • A330 orders/deferrals/sales:
    • Eight A330-300s are scheduled for 2015 delivery: Three will go to Indonesia AirAsia X and three to Thai AirAsia X. Two that were originally destined for AirAsia X Malaysia will instead be sold.
    • Four of the eight A330-300 deliveries that were due in 2016 and three of the eight deliveries that were slated for 2017 will be deferred or converted to A330-900neo orders. Two of these aircraft have been deferred until 2018 while the other five have been converted to A330-900neo orders, increasing the group’s total order to 55 aircraft.
    • AirAsia X group will begin taking delivery of the A330-900neo from late 2018, with the final aircraft to be delivered by the end of 2026.
  • Wet leasing: AirAsia X will wet lease four A330-300s to other airlines for the March-September 2015 period.

Fleet totals

  • AirAsia X (Malaysia):
    • 19 A330-300s. No new A330s will be added to the fleet in 2014 or 2015.
    • Two A340-300s and one A330-200 in the fleet were wet-leased to other airlines and are due to exit the fleet by early 2015.
  • Indonesia AirAsia X: Two A330-300s by end of 2014; will receive three new A330-300s in 2015.
  • Thai AirAsia X: Two A330-300s by end of 2014; will receive three new A330-300s in 2015.
  • New aircraft delivered in 2016 and 2017 are likely to prioritised for Indonesia AirAsia X and Thai AirAsia X.

Decreased Australian flights

AirAsia X has announced it will decrease its services to Australia by 15-20 per cent in 2015, after losses from Australian operations quadrupled.

The flight cuts will occur during the March-September 2015 period only. The airline has not revealed which flights will be cut, but said that capacity reductions to Australia will be used to increase capacity to North Asia and other regions.

AirAsia X currently operates twice daily with Airbus A330-300s between Kuala Lumpur and Perth. It also operates to Adelaide, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney from Kuala Lumpur.

AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani believes that the losses of MH370 and MH17 may be a reason for reduced travel demand, but the weaker Australian Dollar, slowing global economy, more competitive pricing and excess capacity from AirAsia X and Malaysia Airlines will also be contributing factors.

Jetstar international and Scoot are also reportedly experiencing a difficult Australian market.

VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s and early 1980s at Boeing Field, Washington, USA in early November 2014.  Photo © Qantas

VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s and early 1980s at Boeing Field, Washington, USA in early November 2014. This was the first official photo, taken before the name ‘James Strong’ was applied.
Photo © Qantas

VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas, named 'James Strong' in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s, at the unveiling and handover ceremony at Boeing Field, Washington, USA - 16 November 2014.  Photo © Qantas

VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas, named ‘James Strong’ in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s, at the unveiling and handover ceremony at Boeing Field, Washington, USA – 16 November 2014.
Photo © Qantas

VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas, named 'James Strong' in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s, at the unveiling and handover ceremony at Boeing Field, Washington, USA - 16 November 2014.  Photo © Qantas

VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas, named ‘James Strong’ in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s, at the unveiling and handover ceremony at Boeing Field, Washington, USA – 16 November 2014.
Photo © Qantas

VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas, named 'James Strong' in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s, at the unveiling and handover ceremony at Boeing Field, Washington, USA - 16 November 2014.  Photo © Qantas

VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas, named ‘James Strong’ in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s, at the unveiling and handover ceremony at Boeing Field, Washington, USA – 16 November 2014.
Photo © Qantas

Actor and Qantas Ambassador John Travolta with Qantas flight attendants in 1970s uniforms, in front of VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas, named 'James Strong' in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s, at the unveiling and handover ceremony at Boeing Field, Washington, USA - 16 November 2014.  Photo © Qantas

Actor and Qantas Ambassador John Travolta with Qantas flight attendants in 1970s uniforms, in front of VH-XZP Boeing_737-838 (MSN 44577/5164) of Qantas, named ‘James Strong’ in a retro livery worn by the airline in the 1970s, at the unveiling and handover ceremony at Boeing Field, Washington, USA – 16 November 2014.
Photo © Qantas

5 November 2014 (UPDATED 20 November 2014 with delivery info)

Qantas has painted its next new Boeing 737-800, VH-XZP (MSN 44577/5164) in a retro livery, used by the airline from 1971 to 1984, designed by Gert Sellheim.

VH-XZP, which is the airline’s 75th Boeing 737-800, made its first flight on 3 November 2014 in Seattle, and photos of the retro jet were revealed on the internet, so Qantas released an official photo of the aircraft, but without its name.

The 737 was officially unveiled in the retro livery on Sunday 16 November 2014 at Boeing Field Seattle, when the aircraft was signed over to Qantas for delivery to Australia. The aircraft was also officially named James Strong, to honour the former Qantas CEO, who passed away in 2013.

At the handover, Elton John’s 1970’s song Rocket Man was played and a mirrored disco ball was suspended from the hangar roof. Movie actor and Qantas ambassador John Travolta attended, together with flight attendants in original 1970s Qantas uniforms.

VH-XZP departed Seattle’s Boeing Field Airport at 8:33am local time on Monday 17 November 2014 as non-revenue flight QF6024 to Honolulu, Hawaii. After a brief refuelling stop in Honolulu, it continued on to Nadi (Fiji) where it stayed overnight. It departed Nadi at 8am, landing in Sydney at 10:25am on Wednesday 19 November 2014.

The aircraft flew to Brisbane on 19 November for pre-service maintenance, and is due to commence revenue service on Sunday 23 November 2014.