How you could help name Qantas' new fleet of aircrafts

HARD as it is to imagine a sleek new Dreamliner bearing the name "Vegemite" but this is on the cards as Qantas embarks on a campaign to find suitably Australian titles for its fleet of 787-9s.

With the first Dreamliner due to be delivered later this year, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has decided to name the eight new aircraft after Aussie icons.

Depending on how the Australian public vote in a naming competition launched by Qantas today, travellers could find themselves in the Spirit of FJ Holden or the Flying Merino.

Other suggestions put forward by Qantas staff are Hills hoist, Uluru, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Kakadu, Great Barrier Reef, lamington and Don Bradman - as well as Vegemite.

Mr Joyce said they were keen for broader input from Australians to help choose names that would "reflect the importance of the Dreamliner to the national carrier".

"They can be people, places or things, so long as they reflect the true Spirit of Australia," said Mr Joyce.

"Whether it's a notable person, a group-breaking invention, a saying or a landmark, we want eight icons that together, reflect the depth and breadth of this place we all call home."

Other aircraft types have been subject to similar naming conventions, with Qantas A380s named after Australian aviation pioneers; 737-800s after Australian towns; and 737-400s after native birds.

In fact, the tradition dates back to 1926, when Qantas' de Havilland aircraft were given names from Greek mythology.

Plenty of other airlines do the same. Hawaiian Airlines branded its A330s with constellation names and Aer Lingus uses the names of Irish saints.

Virgin America has aircraft bearing the titles "Unicorn Chaser" and "Screw it, Let's Do It", and even one called "Jefferson Airplane" in a nod to the psychedelic rock band from the 60s.

The first Qantas Dreamliner will fly Melbourne-Los Angeles, and the next one off the production will cover the history-making Perth-London route.

Other routes under consideration for the super-efficient, jet-lag busting aircraft include Brisbane-Dallas and Sydney-Chicago.

From today, Qantas wants Australians to enter up to eight different names, on a dedicated page at qantas.com/nameourdreamliners.

Entries will close on Friday May 26, after which a shortlist of 24 will be released for public voting before the final eight are revealed some time in June.

News Corp Australia

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