I like pretty planes … and this is one of the prettiest I’ve seen in a long while …

Here are the first pictures on the new Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner landing just before dawn at Alice Springs airport after a direct flight from the Boeing base in Seattle, USA.

Following text is from the Qantas presser …

Qantas has today unveiled a special livery honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians on its latest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The artwork depicts the culturally significant yam plant, an important symbol in Emily’s Dreaming stories and a staple food source in her home region of Utopia, 230km north-east of Alice Springs. The aircraft itself will be named Emily Kame Kngwarreye in tribute to the artist.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the striking artwork is intended to encourage more people to explore the Indigenous elements that form part of ‘the Spirit of Australia’.

“As the national carrier we’re thrilled to showcase another piece of Indigenous culture on one of our aircraft, and to reiterate our ongoing commitment to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“It’s a beautiful, bold artwork and so we hope it catches people’s eye and sparks a conversation about our country’s dynamic Indigenous culture,” said Mr. Joyce.


Born in 1910 at Ahalkere in the Utopia Homelands, Emily Kame Kngwarreye is recognised worldwide as one of Australia’s most significant artists of the late 20th Century. Her paintings influenced a change in the direction of Australian Aboriginal art from the use of traditional iconography to an open abstract landscape. Emily learnt ancestral stories, song cycles, traditional body paint markings for women’s dancing ceremonies and became a leader in women’s ceremonial business. Working as a stock hand, she became very familiar with the Utopia landscape and her paintings are maps of her traditional lands. 

Respected as a bold and strong woman, her paintings, with their definite and sure lines depict the Utopia of her ancestors. Emily began painting quite late in her life, taking it up when she was almost 80 years of age.

Here are a few more pics from later in the day – Emily took off for an hour of circuits over the West MacDonnell Ranges with a couple of chase choppers at about 0845 Alice Springs time then dropped back into Alice Springs before heading off for Sydney and Melbourne.