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Qantas’ New Trans-Tasman Fleet to Honour NZ Icons

QANTAS’ NEW TRANS-TASMAN FLEET TO HONOUR NEW ZEALAND ICONS

AUCKLAND, 22 September 2009: Qantas today officially welcomed the first of its new Boeing 737-800 aircraft into service, and announced that it would be named in honour of pioneer aviatrix Jean Batten.

The following two new aircraft in the trans-Tasman fleet will be named after iconic New Zealanders Sir William Hudson and Katherine Mansfield.

Qantas Regional General Manager New Zealand, Mr Grant Lilly, said Qantas will have three of the new aircraft flying trans-Tasman routes by mid-October, with the remainder to arrive by 2011.

“These new aircraft will become the flagship of our trans-Tasman fleet. They are New Zealand registered and based, and will be operated by New Zealand based pilots and cabin crew. We believe it is only fitting to recognise this by naming these aircraft after three truly great New Zealanders, who, in their individual fields, cemented strong links between Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“These pioneers also sought to bring the unique culture of New Zealand to the world, and for us here at Qantas, we like to think we also play a part in this. It is undeniable that Jean Batten, Sir William Hudson and Katherine Mansfield, were pioneers in exporting New Zealand skills and culture on a global scale.”

Mr Lilly said it was a privilege for him to present a plaque to relatives of both Jean Batten and Sir William Hudson, and representatives of Auckland’s Katherine Mansfield Society, commemorating the naming of the first three aircraft.

“We have twenty-two relatives of the late Jean Batten here today as part of this celebration, and also the daughter and grandson of the late Sir William Hudson, and a representative of the Katherine Mansfield Society here in Auckland who have taken up the very important cause of ensuring one of our greatest writers receives the recognition she deserves, both here and abroad.

“Aircraft have come a very long way since Jean Batten broke her records, and we are confident that our new fleet will showcase the best of modern onboard technology and design.”

He added that some of the features of the new aircraft include:

• A 12-seat business class and 156-seat economy configuration

• Individual state-of-the-art Panasonic Inflight Entertainment on Demand system in both business and economy with over 300 entertainment options

• 10.6 inch in arm touch screen in business

• 9 inch seatback touch screen in economy

• Marc Newson styled seating design with a 22 inch width and 37 inch seat pitch in business and a 17 inch width and 30 inch seat pitch in economy, ergonomic cushions and adjustable headrest; and

• PC and USB ports in both business and economy to facilitate computers, MP3 players and other technology.

The Qantas B737-800 will initially fly on Auckland-Sydney and Auckland-Melbourne routes.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES ON ICONIC NEW ZEALANDERS HONOURED WITH AIRCRAFT NAMING

JEAN BATTEN
b1909-d1982
Jean Batten has become known as New Zealand’s most famous aviatrix, her fame growing in the 1930s, when the world was captivated by flight, as she continued to break flying records around the world.

Among her achievements were breaking the England-Australia women’s record in 1934 and completing the fastest flight from England to South America in 1935 – which was also the fastest flight across the South Atlantic Ocean. In 1936 Batten set the record for the fastest flight from England to New Zealand and her record remained unbroken for over 40 years. She was also the first person to hold both the England-Australia and Australia-England solo flight records concurrently.

Qantas is delighted to bestow this honour unto Jean Batten, as recognition of her great spirit of adventure, exploration and her role in pioneering trans-Tasman aviation.

SIR WILLIAM HUDSON
b1896-d1978
Sir William Hudson, New Zealand born engineer, was the first Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Authority in Australia between1949-1967.

The Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme was a major feat of engineering, and became a benchmark for modern engineering infrastructure around the world. Hudson himself was responsible for many of the engineering components, and he is recognised as an integral figure in the building of post-war Australia.

For many Australians, the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme is remembered fondly as a place where they first became part of the Australian community. A great many Australians came to work on the Scheme as post-war immigrants, and Sir William Hudson is an important figure in the lives of many families.

Qantas is delighted to bestow this honour unto Sir William Hudson, in recognition of his great contribution to engineering, technology and his place in trans-Tasman history.

KATHERINE MANSFIELD
b1888-d1923
Katherine Mansfield has become known as New Zealand’s most accomplished writer, recognised as a pioneer of the modern short story.

The Wellington born writer spent her early school years there before undertaking further education in England.

Some of Mansfield’s first works were published in the Australian periodical The Native Companion, in 1907, creating a link between Mansfield and Australia that we now celebrate today.

Mansfield’s later work, for which she is most famous, includes the short-story collection Bliss and Other Stories, and her final work The Garden Party and Other Stories. This collection was published a few weeks after her death in Fontainebleau, France, in 1923.


ENDS

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