This week, Qantas paid tribute to the life of
pioneering Australian aviatrix Nancy-Bird Walton, who died in Sydney,
The aviation legend learned to fly under the
tutelage of Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and in the 1930s was the
first Australian woman to operate a commercial aircraft.
In 1935, Nancy-Bird operated an air ambulance
service in outback New South Wales. In 1950, she founded the
Australian Women Pilots Association, which provides mentoring and
support to women pilots to this day.
In October 2008,
Qantas named its first A380 aircraft the Nancy-Bird Walton, in
honour of Nancy-Bird’s contribution to Australian aviation.
The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Alan
Joyce, said Nancy-Bird had been a trail blazer for Australian
women pilots and an inspirational figure in Australian aviation.
“We are so proud that our first A380 is named
after Nancy-Bird and will carry her name into the future,” Mr
“Nancy-Bird’s boundless energy, her courage and
her vision for the role of women in aviation represented the best
Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, said,
“Nancy-Bird Walton had boundless energy and enthusiasm, and it was
my privilege to meet her in Sydney in 2008. Her ongoing commitment
to aviation and especially the inspiration she provided to females
around the world will be her remarkable and enduring legacy for
generations to come. She epitomises the Australian pioneering
spirit. Airbus is so proud that one of the finest aircraft the
world has ever seen, will forever be associated with this great
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