Restoration of vintage Qantas airstairs at CQUni Emerald

Published:15 May 2018

L-R CQUni VET Education Leader Claude Favero, CQUni Associate Vice-Chancellor (Central Highlands Region) Blake Repine, Qantas Founders Museum Board Member Don Hill and Museum CEO Tony Martin.

Taking a step back in time is providing a unique learning opportunity for CQUniversity students, thanks to a collaborative restoration project with the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach.

A set of vintage Qantas airstairs, dating to 1957, was recently delivered to CQUniversity Emerald Campus, where it will be restored by students and staff.

“The airstairs were donated to the Qantas Founders Museum by a collector in Sydney and, once the restoration project is complete, they will be displayed at the museum,” said CQUniversity Associate Vice-Chancellor (Central Highlands Region) Blake Repine.

“Working on a project such as this is a wonderful opportunity for our students and we’re very excited about it.

“This is the first major project that launches the partnership between CQUniversity and the Qantas Founders Museum.

"Restoration, lead by Emerald Campus’ VET Education Leader Claude Favero, will progress over the coming year and we can’t wait to see the final product.”

Qantas Founders Museum CEO Tony Martin said the Museum was thrilled that the project to restore the iconic airstairs was underway.

“This project will be a great opportunity for the CQUniversity students and staff to work on these heritage stairs and assist in preserving an important and rare piece of Australia’s aviation history,” Mr Martin said.

“As custodians of the heritage of Qantas, we are grateful for CQUniversity’s assistance in this project and believe projects like these will enable us to tell the many stories in the 98-year history of Qantas.”

The airstairs were invented by Qantas engineer George Roberts and revolutionised the way people board and disembark planes. Nicknamed the ‘Batmobile’ because of its prominent fins, the airstairs are now a rare find.

Students involved in the restoration project, that is expected to take 18 months to complete, include apprentices in the automotive, electrical and engineering streams.