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Qantas Flies Cross Pacific - History

Qantas Flies Cross Pacific - History


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Flying a Boeing 707-330B Qantas Airlines flew the first non-stop trans-Pacific flight on March 7th, 1965. The flight originated in Sydney and arrived in San Franciso 14 hours and 33 minutes later. The flight covered a distance of 7,424 miles.


A Look At Qantas’ History – How The Airline Became The Australian Flag Carrier

As one of the oldest airlines in the world, and the largest in Australia, Qantas has a fascinating history! It is a story of growth – starting with two small biplanes opening up the outback and expanding to become a major long haul operator of the 747 and A380. This article shares some of the highlights of this close to 100 year history.

Inspiration for flying in Queensland

The story of Qantas starts with two former military aviators, Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness. They served as an observer and pilot pair in the Australian Flying Corps.

Following service in the First World War, Fysh and McGinness worked for the defense department surveying an air race route from Longreach in Queensland to Katherine in the Northern Territory. This arduous journey by land took them 51 days and left the pair convinced of the possibilities of an air service linking locations in these remote regions.

The pair raised funding to start a company initially offering an air taxi service, as well as leisure and sightseeing flights. Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (soon abbreviated to QANTAS) was formed in November 1920 in the town of Winton. Its headquarters would move a few years later to the more central town of Longreach. The first aircraft (by 1920) were two biplanes – an Avro 504K and a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E.

Financier Fergus McMaster joined the two pilots as chairman, and Arthur Baird as engineer. McMaster did not stay long as the first chairman, but Hudson Fysh remained with Qantas until 1966.

Starting a scheduled service

The first move to a regular airline service came in November 1922 with a government contract to operate a mail service between Charleville and Cloncurry.

Passenger service began on the same route in 1924, with the introduction of de Havilland DH50 aircraft with four seats in an enclosed cabin. This single route was extended 400km from Cloncurry to Camooweal in 1925, and to Normanton in 1927. Qantas also began production of its own aircraft (under license from De Havilland) in Longreach. Between 1926 and 1928 they built seven DH50 and one DH9 aircraft.

The route network would reach the coast in 1929, with an extension to Brisbane using new DH61 aircraft on the Charleville-Brisbane service. Soon after, the company headquarters would move from Longreach to Brisbane.

Expanding internationally – in partnership with the UK

Overseas expansion began in 1934, when Qantas and Imperial Airways (a predecessor of British Airways) jointly formed Qantas Empire Airways Limited (QEA). This name lasted until 1967 when the airline was renamed to Qantas Airways, as it remains today.

QEA initially flew a scheduled service from Brisbane to Darwin. Service extended in 1935 to Singapore using a DH86, with Imperial Airways offering further service to the UK. They introduced the Shorts S23 Empire flying boat on the route in 1938 to meet growing demand. This was, by now, a three times per week service, taking nine days.

The Second World War disrupted service for Qantas, but the airline played a major role in maintaining a link from Australia to the UK. Initially, services operated to South Africa, with travel to the UK from there by sea. After the fall of Singapore in 1942, this shifted to a direct service to Sri Lanka (using Catalinas flying boats), linking with a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) service to London.

Nationalizing the airline – becoming the Australian flag carrier

After the war, QEA was nationalized as the government bought the shares of both BOAC and Qantas. Service continued in partnership with BOAC to the UK, but was also expanded significantly in Asia. Service began first to Manila and Tokyo, soon followed by Hong Kong. New aircraft entered the fleet as well – the Avro Lancastrian (initially modified Lancaster bombers from war service) and later the Douglas DC4.

Flying boat service, using new Short Sandringham as well as the Catalinas planes, was introduced to several Pacific destinations (including Fiji, New Guinea and New Caledonia) in 1950.

These new international services would reach their peak in 1958, with Qantas became a true round the world operator. Super Constellation aircraft operated both a westbound and an eastbound route from Sydney to the UK, known as the ‘Kangaroo’ and the ‘Southern Cross’ services.

Starting Jet aircraft service in 1959

In 1956, the same year that Qantas drew worldwide attention bring visitors (and the flame) to Australia for the Melbourne Olympics, the airline entered the jet age. The airline placed an order for seven Boeing 707 aircraft, with delivery in 1959. These started service to the US and to the UK that same year. And by 1966 the fleet reached 19 jets (including six higher capacity 707- 338C aircraft) as propeller aircraft were phased out.

Bringing in the ‘Jumbo Jet’

This need for more capacity continued, and led Qantas to bring in the Boeing 747 in 1971. This was a couple of years after some other airlines began operating it.

Qantas had waited for the introduction of the 747B, a better suited aircraft for their long haul routes. The 747 allowed them to restructure airfares, and the lower fares they could offer on long haul flights saw high expansion in passenger numbers.

Qantas retired the 707 in 1979, and for several years operated an all 747 international fleet. This would expand in 1985 with the introduction of the Boeing 767, and again in 1989 with the 747-400. The first flight of this set a world record for commercial flight distance with a non-stop flight from London to Sydney.

Domestic expansion and privatization

Major changes took place at Qantas during the late 1990s. In 1992, Qantas bought the government owned domestic carrier Australian Airlines. And in 1993 it was privatized, with British Airways taking a 25% stake. This partnership went further in 1998, with the two airlines both being founding members of the Oneworld alliance.

Following the collapse of competitor Ansett Australia in 2001, Qantas enjoyed around a 90% share of the domestic Australia market. This would reduce with the later growth of Virgin Blue. in 2003, Qantas launched it’s low price subsidiary Jetstar Airways to better compete in this market, which remains dominated by these three airlines.

New modern aircraft – the A380 and the 787

Recent years have again seen major fleet changes at Qantas. As with other airlines, the 747 fleet is currently being phased out, and replaced with 787 and A380 aircraft. The last flight date for the 747 has recently been confirmed in late 2019.

Whilst this obviously marks the end of a major part of Qantas’s history, it also opens up new possibilities with better efficiently, range and passenger numbers. Qantas have already set a record with the 787. This began the first direct scheduled flight service between Australia (Perth) and London in March 2018.

And looking forward a few years, Qantas have high ambitions with Project Sunrise currently paving the way for non-stop services from Sydney to London and New York.


Company-Histories.com

Public Company
Incorporated: 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd.
Employees: 35,000
Sales: AUD 11.35 billion (2004)
Stock Exchanges: Australian
Ticker Symbol: QAN
NAIC: 481111 Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation 481112 Scheduled Freight Air Transportation 488119 Other Airport Operations 48819 Other Support Activities for Air Transportation


Company Perspectives:
Going forward, Qantas will strive for greater efficiency, continue to invest in new aircraft and product, grow operations and job opportunities and protect its reputation as Australia's national carrier and one of the world's leading airlines. We aim to compete effectively across all sectors of the aviation marketplace and in a growing number of markets.


Key Dates:
1920: Qantas is formed.
1947: "Kangaroo Route" to London via Singapore is initiated.
1967: A koala becomes the airline's famous TV mascot.
1979: Qantas flies the world's first all-Boeing 747 fleet.
1982: New aircraft types are acquired in fleet modernization program.
1989: The first nonstop Sydney-London route is flown.
1992: Qantas takes over Australian Airlines.
1993: British Airways buys a 25 percent shareholding in Qantas.
1995: Qantas shares floated publicly.
2001: Qantas dominates its domestic market as competitors struggle.
2003: Qantas begins investing in several regional airlines.

Qantas Airways Ltd. is Australia's number one domestic airline and a leader in the Asia-Pacific region. It is one of the ten largest airlines in the world and is considered to be the second oldest (after KLM of the Netherlands). Qantas connects Australia to 81 destinations in 40 other countries worldwide and operates extensive domestic services in both Australia and New Zealand. In addition to its flagship Qantas line, the company also operates several regional airlines in Australia and is a partner in a budget start-up based in Singapore. Qantas and its regional subsidiaries carry more than 30 million passengers a year. Qantas maintains a number of alliances and code share arrangements it is a member of the oneworld global airline alliance led by American Airlines and British Airways plc, which is Qantas's largest shareholder with an 18 percent interest.

Qantas was founded by two World War I veterans, William Hudson Fysh and Paul McGuiness, who had served with the Australian Flying Corps. In March 1919, they gained the support of a millionaire industrialist to enter a competition for a prize of AUD 20,000 offered by the Australian government for the first Australians to fly from Britain to Australia within 20 days. Unfortunately, their patron died before the arrangements for their flight had been made. They accepted a related task from the Australian Chief of General Staff to survey the air race route from Longreach in Queensland to Katherine in the Northern Territory and to lay down supplies along the route for the competitors.

After the completion of their overland survey in August 1919, Fysh and McGuiness were convinced that aircraft could play an important role in transporting passengers and freight over the sparsely populated areas of western and northern Queensland and northern Australia, and they decided to form an airline. The pair had insufficient capital to launch their new venture, but a chance meeting between McGuiness and Fergus McMaster, a prominent Queensland grazier, led to the latter's involvement in the project. McMaster, together with his fellow grazier Ainslie Templeton, agreed to provide financial backing for Fysh and McGuiness's proposed air service for western Queensland.

On November 16, 1920, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd. (Qantas) was registered in Brisbane with an initial paid-up capital of AUD 12,074. McMaster became the first chairman of the airline he was to prove anything but a silent partner. Without his constant efforts on behalf of Qantas, it is doubtful whether the airline would have survived.

In 1921, the airline's head office was moved from Winton to Longreach, another small Queensland outback town. During its early years, the airline encountered serious problems in obtaining suitable aircraft, as most of the British-manufactured aircraft were inappropriate for the Australian outback and the country's hot climate. Eventually, in 1924, the company found an aircraft up to the challenge: the de Havilland DH50. In the early days, passengers were few in number and most of the airline's revenue came from joyriders and air taxi work.

It soon became clear that Qantas would need a government subsidy to survive. In late 1921 Qantas won the contract for a weekly subsidized mail service between Charleville and Cloncurry in Queensland, and the airline's first scheduled service was inaugurated on November 2, 1922. Later in that year, McGuiness left the company, leaving Fysh as the sole employee from what John Gunn described in The Defeat of Distance: Qantas 1919-1939 as the airline's "dreamtime days." In February 1923, Marcus Griffin, the airline's first professional manager, resigned. With McMaster's support, he was replaced by Fysh.

In 1924, the subsidized mail service was extended from Cloncurry to Camooweal, and three years later another subsidized mail service was started from Cloncurry to Normanton. The following year, the Australian Medical Service--renamed the Flying Doctor Service in 1942--was formed, and Qantas was contracted to operate medical flights on demand. On April 17, 1929, Qantas inaugurated the 710-kilometer Charleville-Brisbane service on the first direct link to the coast, bringing its total route network to nearly 2,380 kilometers. In 1930, the airline's headquarters were moved to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland.

The original link with Britain's Imperial Airways took place in 1931, when Qantas assisted in carrying the first official airmail as part of an experimental Australia-Britain route. Qantas carried the airmail between Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, and Brisbane. On January 18, 1934, Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. (QEA) was formed as a 50-50 joint venture between Imperial Airways and Qantas to enable the Australian airline to participate in the new airmail service. QEA secured subsidized airmail contracts for the Brisbane-Singapore via Darwin and also Cloncurry-Normanton services. The new weekly transcontinental service began on December 10, 1934. In 1936, a second weekly service was begun between Brisbane and Singapore.

On June 10, 1938, the route between Australia and Britain was upgraded to a thrice-weekly subsidized service with the introduction of Short Brothers Empire Flying Boats, extending the route to Sydney. Imperial Airways and QEA's flying boats were flown directly across the whole route, with the British crews taking over the aircraft in Singapore. During the same year, QEA's headquarters were moved to Sydney.

During the 1930s, KLM emerged as a major competitor with its Amsterdam-Batavia (Jakarta) service. In July 1938, its partner airline, KNILM, started a service between Batavia and Sydney. QEA regarded KLM's service as superior to that of Imperial Airways, partly because of KLM's use of American aircraft. In the earliest days of air travel, British aircraft had been superior to those built in the United States, but with the development of a major commercial airline industry in the 1930s American planes gained dominance. Pan American Airways (Pan-Am) also emerged as a strong competitor to the Imperial Airways-QEA Sydney-London service with the inauguration of a United States West Coast-Honolulu-Auckland service in 1940 after an abortive start in 1938.

After the outbreak of World War II, the Sydney-London route over which the flying boats operated became a vital line of communication. QEA continued to fly to Singapore. After the occupation of Singapore by Japan, however, all QEA aircraft eventually were recalled to Broome in Western Australia as Japanese forces advanced ever closer to Australia. QEA continued a token domestic service, but it ceased to be an overseas commercial passenger airline until the end of the war. More than half of the QEA fleet was commissioned for war service by the Australian government. Later in the war, QEA crews served alongside the Royal Australian Air Force in the battle zones of New Guinea.

In 1943, an agreement was signed between QEA, the British Air Ministry, and British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC--formerly Imperial Airways) to reestablish an air link between Britain and Australia. Using Catalina flying boats--obtained from the United States and leased from the Australian government--regular flights were carried out between Perth, the capital of Western Australia, and Ceylon. The single ocean route of 5,600 kilometers was the longest ever undertaken. Between July 10, 1943, and July 18, 1945, 271 flights were completed.

Postwar Rebuilding and Expansion

Having survived World War II, QEA was left with virtually no aircraft. Hence, it immediately began the task of rebuilding and modernizing its fleet. Against bitter opposition from the British government, BOAC, and their friends in Australia, QEA refused to consider seriously the purchase of what it regarded, correctly as it later transpired, as inferior and unairworthy British aircraft not even off the drawing board. Instead, in October 1946 an order worth AUD 5.5 million was placed with Lockheed for four Constellation aircraft. The DC3 aircraft also was introduced by QEA for use on the Australia-New Guinea and on internal New Guinea and Queensland routes.

QEA had been the national overseas airline of Australia since 1934. The nationalization of Imperial Airways in 1940 by the British government, however, had led to pressure in Australia for the nationalization of QEA. In 1947, the Australian ALP government purchased BOAC's 50 percent share of QEA and later in the year also purchased Qantas's 50 percent share as well. In October, McMaster retired as the result of persistent ill health, and Fysh became chairman of the newly nationalized QEA in addition to his role as managing director.

The first L749 Constellation arrived in October 1947, and in December QEA began its first regular weekly service right through to London via Singapore on the famous "Kangaroo Route." The Douglas DC4 Skymaster was introduced to the fleet in June 1949 on the new Hong Kong service. In 1949, Qantas handed over its services in Queensland and the Northern Territory and the Flying Doctor Service to Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA). TAA had been formed in December 1945 as a state-owned domestic airline. It was government policy that TAA should operate only domestic routes and that Qantas should confine itself to overseas routes. In 1950, a commercial service to Japan was inaugurated, followed in 1952 by a fortnightly service to Johannesburg, South Africa. In October 1953, QEA received permission to operate its first scheduled service to North America with the transfer of this service from the previous operator, British Commonwealth Pacific Airways (BCPA). QEA eventually took over BCPA.

In 1954, QEA began taking delivery of Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft and was able to inaugurate its new twice weekly transpacific service to North America on May 15. One service flew on to San Francisco, and the other to Vancouver. During 1957, Qantas moved to new headquarters in Sydney. The following year, QEA inaugurated its first round-the-world service with the establishment of the "Southern Cross Route" via San Francisco and New York. An agreement had been signed in 1957 for QEA to operate between Britain and Australia via the United States. In mid-1958, despite Qantas's weak financial position, the government decided that both its internal operations in New Guinea and Sydney were domestic in nature. Hence, it decided that Qantas's New Guinea services would be taken over by TAA, which was done in 1960.

Entering the Jet Age in 1959

In 1959, ahead of all of its non-U.S. competitors, QEA took delivery of seven Boeing 707-138 jet aircraft. These were introduced in turn on both the Southern Cross and Kangaroo Routes during the same year. The Boeing 707 fleet was expanded rapidly and frequencies increased. By 1964, 13 707 jetliners were operating on most of the Qantas routes, and the airline had begun selling off its aging propeller-driven aircraft. By March 1966, Qantas's Boeing fleet had reached 19 jets, six of which were the larger 707-338C series, with five more on order.

In June 1966, Sir Hudson Fysh retired as chairman of Qantas because of his ill health. His retirement was soon followed by that of the man most responsible for the postwar Qantas expansion, Sir Cedric Turner, who had been general manager since 1951 and chief executive since 1955. Captain R.J. Richie, who had taken a leading role in building up the company's fleet and airline network after World War II, was appointed general manager Sir Roland Wilson, a Qantas Board member, was appointed as the new chairman.

The same year, Qantas made the decision to standardize its fleet with the larger Boeing 338C series and to dispose of its 138B aircraft. It also considered purchasing an even larger, innovative aircraft: the Boeing 747. As a result of the high costs involved, it was decided that Qantas would hold on to its 21-strong 707 fleet to protect its immediate position and would wait for the more advanced "B" series of the 747. An initial order for four Boeing 747Bs was placed in August 1967. Although this meant that Qantas's competitors would have been operating the wide-bodied jet for nearly two years before it took delivery, the B series had features and refinements particularly suited to long-haul operations. The airline also changed its name on August 1, 1967, to Qantas Airways Limited. At the end of the 1960s Qantas came under government pressure to cut its airfares because the Australian Tourist Commission and some government ministers felt that lower fares were essential for the development of the Australian tourist industry. Qantas, which was facing rising costs and falling revenue yields, did not want to cut its fares.

In 1970, Qantas again decided to standardize its fleet with Boeing aircraft when it rejected the option of purchasing cheaper DC10s in favor of 747s. In the early 1970s, the airline was facing strong competition, particularly on the Pacific, where it had excess capacity and one of its principal rivals, Pan-Am, was already using 747s. Qantas was forced to eliminate some of its air crew. Qantas also experienced problems with the United States Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), which banned its 747 operations even though Pan-Am used 747s on its flights to Australia. As a result, Qantas introduced its 747s on routes to Singapore and London instead of on transpacific services to the West Coast of the United States. The Australian government was forced to allow more American airline services between the United States and Australia. In return, the CAB allowed Qantas to begin 747 services to the United States in January 1972.

Low Fare Policy Debuts in the Early 1970s

In the early 1970s, Qantas formed a charter subsidiary, Qantair Ltd., with the strong support of the Australian government and with the intention of recovering the traffic it had lost to charter services on the Europe-Far East part of the journey to Australia. At the same time, Qantas decided to embark upon a low fares initiative in late 1971. On April 1, 1972, subject to British government approval, it cut the one-way fare between London and Sydney from £276 to £169. Single fares between Australia and four other European cities were cut similarly. The British government deferred approval for the new fare, but Qantas sold unapproved tickets in the face of bitter opposition to the new low fare from its rivals. In late May, Britain approved the new fare. Britain's liberal line earned it a good deal of anger from other countries and non-British airlines. Qantas offered travelers charter-level fares while still retaining the benefits of scheduled services. As a result, the airline's passenger traffic and revenue grew dramatically, despite the huge increase in the price of aviation fuel.

In August 1972, the Australian government authorized Qantas to go ahead with the construction of the International Centre, the new headquarters located in downtown Sydney. In December, the ALP replaced the Liberals as Australia's governing party. The new government confirmed its predecessor's decision that Qantas would replace the two domestic airlines Ansett and TAA on the highly profitable route between Port Morseby and Australia after Papua New Guinea (PNG) became independent on December 1, 1973. Qantas had been forced to surrender this route to TAA in 1960.

After the introduction of its low fare policy in 1972, Qantas embarked upon a major rationalization of its route network. Margins were extremely tight and the airline could not afford to spread its operations over wide areas of the world for reasons of prestige alone. Hence Qantas decided to discontinue its "Southern Cross Route" to London as it had done earlier in the case of operations between Hong Kong and London.

During the late 1970s, Qantas readopted its policy of offering bargain fares between Britain and Australia, beginning with fare cuts of up to £79 in 1977. Further fare cuts of up to one-third were made in February 1979 as a means of meeting the potential threat of cheap advance booking charter fares proposed by Laker Airways of Britain. Qantas's policy was opposed by members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Singapore especially opposed it because the policy excluded stopovers in their countries, cutting tourism and airline profits. At a meeting in Kuala Lumpur in May 1979, however, Australia succeeded in forcing ASEAN to accept its new policy.

With the sale of its last Boeing 707 in 1979, Qantas became the world's first airline to operate a fleet composed entirely of Boeing 747s. The final roundtrip 707 flight operated between Sydney and Auckland at the end of March. Over the next few years, Qantas took delivery of several 747 variations. In 1980, the chairman since 1975, Sir Lenox Hewitt, retired. He was replaced by Jim Leslie, who was initially only a part-time chairman as well as continuing temporarily to be chairman and managing director of Mobil Oil Australia.

Fleet Modernized in the Early 1980s

In the early 1980s, Qantas suffered from large operating losses. After the election of the new Labor (ALP) government in 1983, one of its first actions was to increase Qantas's capital base from AUD 89.4 million to AUD 149.4 million. The airline had been denied adequate capital by the previous government and had been obliged to borrow heavily to maintain its aircraft fleet in a modern, efficient, and competitive form. The government hoped that the injection of new capital would assure the future of Qantas as a wholly owned government enterprise.

The new government approved Qantas's largest-ever aircraft order, an AUD 860 million fleet modernization program involving the purchase of three stretched upper-deck Boeing 747s and six of the Extended Range Boeing 767 twin-engine jets. The latter would help service airports such as Adelaide, which joined the Qantas network in November 1982, and Cairns, Darwin, and Townsville. The twin-engine jets also were to be used on the New Zealand routes and expanded to Asian and Pacific destinations. Qantas was to sell its six oldest 747s progressively as the new aircraft were delivered.

Qantas returned to profitability in 1984, making a record pretax profit from airline operations of AUD 58 million in the year to March 31. This was a particularly strong performance given the depressed state of world aviation at that time. Qantas was able to sustain its strong recovery throughout the mid-1980s. Leslie felt that there was now more optimism because of depressed fuel prices and cost-cutting by airlines he felt the main opportunity in Australia lay with tourism. Although the introduction of large, long-range aircraft could affect Australia's neighbors, Leslie reasoned, tourist traffic from the Asian region itself could be increased.

In 1987, Qantas embarked upon the next stage of its fleet modernization program with an order for four fuel-efficient Boeing 747-400s, which the company hoped would keep it competitive with British Airways (the successor to BOAC) and Singapore Airlines on its Britain-Australia and transpacific routes. The record profits made in 1986-87 of AUD 63.4 million showed that the airline had become one of Australia's top export earners.

In 1988, the governments of Australia and New Zealand decided to merge and partially privatize their state-owned airlines, Qantas, Australian Airlines (formerly TAA), and Air New Zealand. This plan was abandoned after it met with strong opposition in New Zealand. The New Zealand government decided to privatize Air New Zealand in its existing form. In December, Qantas was part of a consortium led by Brierley Investments of New Zealand (BIL) that purchased Air New Zealand, defeating a consortium led by British Airways. As a result, Qantas acquired a 19.9 percent stake in the airline. The following year, it was revealed that Qantas had reached a secret financial agreement with its partners in the consortium consisting of BIL, American Airlines, and Japan Air Lines to prevent control of Air New Zealand going to British Airways. The subsequent disclosure of this agreement damaged the reputation of Qantas.

At the same time, it was revealed that AUD 5.4 billion was to be spent on aircraft by 1992 and that the company would need a capital injection of AUD 600 million by the Australian government unless shares were sold to private investors. In 1989, the Australian government proposed the complete privatization of Qantas because in order to remain competitive it needed substantial capital injections, which the government was unable to fund. This new proposal led to a bitter argument in the ALP. During the year, Qantas took delivery of the first of its ten long-haul Boeing 747-400s and flew it nonstop from London to Sydney. It was the first airline to do so and, at 17,850 kilometers, it was the longest single distance any commercial aircraft had ever flown.

In 1990, Qantas reported a loss as a result of its fleet expansion program and the five-month-long domestic pilots' dispute. These losses increased during 1990 as a result of the Persian Gulf crisis, and by early 1991 the airline was facing its worst financial situation since its foundation, including the Great Depression. It was decided to lay off 5,000 employees, sell nine Boeing 747s earlier than planned, and cut flying hours by 14 percent in the year to June 30, 1991.

In early 1990, Leslie was succeeded as chairman by Bill Dix, with John Ward continuing as chief executive, a position he attained in the late 1980s. In September 1990, the ALP had been persuaded to support the privatization of 49 percent of Qantas. The Australian government abandoned plans to float the airline in early 1991, however, and decided on a trade sale instead.

Change came swiftly and dramatically for Qantas in the mid-1990s. In June 1992, the Australian government approved Qantas's purchase of 100 percent of Australian Airlines' shares for AUD 400 million in October 1993, the operations of Qantas and Australian Airlines were merged under a single brand: "Qantas--The Australian Airline." It was also announced in June 1992 that later that year 49 percent of Qantas would be sold through a trade sale, and the remaining 51 percent would be floated publicly during the first half of 1993. Foreign interests were to be allowed to invest up to 35 percent, with the Australian government retaining a "golden share." These plans were soon altered, however, when British Airways in late 1992 stepped in with an offer that was accepted--and completed in March 1993--to buy a 25 percent stake in Qantas for AUD 665 million ($470 million). The move was part of British Airways' push to create a global airline by forming a series of alliances, and it followed previous British Airways deals for 49 percent of TAT of France, 49 percent of Deutsche BA, and 31 percent of Air Russia. British Airways soon added a 25 percent stake in American carrier USAir. Meanwhile, in March 1993 the Australian government pumped AUD 1.35 billion into Qantas to enhance the company's competitive position ahead of privatization.

For Qantas, the deal with British Airways created management turmoil, as it was reported that both Dix and Ward opposed the alliance. By mid-1993, both had departed the company, replaced by Gary Pemberton, former chief executive of Brambles Ltd., a transport and industrial services group, in the chairman's slot, and James Strong, who had previously served as chief executive of Australian Airlines, in the chief executive's chair.

The new management team immediately faced the challenge of completing the privatization, as well as improving upon the dismal results of fiscal 1993--an after-tax loss of AUD 376.8 million ($250 million) incurred in part as a result of difficulties encountered integrating the operations of Australian Airlines. A plan for a September 1993 public offering of the remaining 75 percent of Qantas still owned by the government was pushed back because a spate of privatizations were hitting the Australian market at about the same time. The long-anticipated initial public offering (IPO) finally took place in July 1995, and the company's shares were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange the foreign ownership limit was set at 49 percent. Qantas thus celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1995 as a public company.

From 1993 through 1997, the alliance between Qantas and British Airways evolved into a comprehensive collection of code-sharing arrangements, reciprocal frequent flyer programs, reciprocal lounge access agreements, and scheduling and pricing coordination efforts. The core of this alliance--and most airline alliances--was the code-sharing, whereby a flight operated by one carrier would also be listed in computer reservation systems under another airline's code. During this period, Qantas developed or enhanced several other alliances, including ones with American Airlines, Canadian Airlines International, Air Pacific, Asiana, Japan Airlines, Emirates, and Reno Air.

In March 1997, Qantas sold its 19.9 percent stake in Air New Zealand to ANZ Securities for NZD 425 million ($295 million), using the after-tax profits of AUD 66.8 million to reduce debt. This move was made in anticipation of Air New Zealand's purchase of an equity stake in Qantas's Australian rival, Ansett Australia. Later that year, Qantas began a AUD 560 million ($430 million), three-year fleet modernization program, including the refurbishment of all of its international 747s and 767-300ERs with new seats featuring seat-back personal video screens.

By fiscal 1997, Qantas was solidly in the black, achieving net profits of AUD 252.7 million ($190.1 million) on revenues of AUD 7.83 billion ($5.89 billion). In early 1998, however, the Asian financial crisis forced the company to cut back on some of its Asian service, including destinations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The crisis threatened to derail, at least temporarily, what had been a fairly successful start to Qantas's public company era.

Nevertheless, Qantas, known for its conservative fiscal management, weathered the Asian financial crisis much better than its rivals, noted Air Transport World. Still, competition was strong. While working to cut costs, Qantas revamped its customer service and installed in-flight entertainment systems. Celebrated Aussie chef Neil Perry was brought in to develop a new menu.

The mascot in Qantas's US TV ads, a talking koala, was pulled out of an eight-year retirement in 1999. While the original, who made his debut in 1967, had grumbled about being ignored by the tourists Qantas was bringing Down Under, the newer koala was depicted as a savvy traveler himself who enjoyed the airline's improved business class amenities. The new commercials piggybacked on Australia's visibility as host country of the 2000 Summer Olympics, though Qantas was not an official sponsor.

More than 20 million passengers flew the airline in 2000. Qantas posted revenues of AUD 6.98 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000 sales rose to AUD 7.94 billion in 2000-01, while net income slipped from AUD 517 million to AUD 415 million.

Domestic Dominance after 2001

While the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States had a strong negative effect on international operations, at home the situation for Qantas was becoming very favorable. Rival Ansett Airlines collapsed in September 2001, nearly forcing its parent Air New Zealand Ltd. (ANZ) into bankruptcy as well. Qantas was allowed to buy struggling low-cost startup Impulse Airlines Pty Limited, leaving Qantas with an 80 percent share of the domestic Australian aviation market.

In 2002, Qantas proposed acquiring a large (22.5 percent) interest in ANZ and developing a strategic alliance with the Kiwi carrier. However, the suggested linkup aroused antitrust concerns from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Qantas posted a net profit of AUD 428 million ($230 million) on revenues of AUD 11.3 billion (up 11 percent) in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2002. The airline underwent a AUD 800 million share offering in part to help raise money for a AUD 2.46 billion capital improvements program, which included aircraft replacement, cabin renovations, and upgraded airport facilities.

Profit before tax reached a record AUD 964.6 million in fiscal 2003-04, up 92 percent from the previous year, though revenue slipped 0.2 percent to AUD 11.4 billion. Qantas carried more than 30 million passengers in 2003-04. Fifteen new aircraft were added to the fleet during the year, ranging from Dash 8s to Boeing 747s. Qantas was Air Transport World 's "Airline of the Year" for 2004.

Qantas teamed with Australia Post to acquire Star Track Express, a 30-year-old freight carrier, in late December 2003. Five months later, Qantas also started a new budget airline, Jetstar Airways Pty Limited. It was originally focused on Eastern Australia. Geoff Dixon, Qantas CEO since March 2001, told Aviation Week the company was aiming to let domestic market share slip no lower than 65 percent in the face of new competition, including Richard Branson's Virgin Blue entrant.

Qantas was also a partner in a new low-cost regional carrier based in Singapore called Jetstar Asia. Qantas invested SGB$50 million for a 49.9 percent share in the venture, reported Aviation Week & Space Technology. According to Aviation Week, Qantas was looking for growth outside of Australia in order to maintain its place in a consolidating global aviation industry. In addition to being a code-share partner with a long list of carriers, Qantas was a member of the oneworld alliance led by American Airlines and British Airways, whose shareholding in Qantas had by then been diluted to 18.25 percent.

Principal Subsidiaries: Airlink Pty Ltd Australian Air Express Pty Ltd. (50%) Australian Airlines Ltd. Eastern Australia Airlines Pty Ltd. Impulse Airlines Pty Ltd. Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd. Jetstar Asia (Singapore 49.9%) Qantas Flight Catering Holdings Ltd. Qantas Holidays Ltd. Sunstate Airlines Pty Ltd. Star Track Express Pty Ltd.

Principal Divisions: International Flying Businesses Domestic Flying Businesses Flying Services Qantas Freight.

Principal Operating Units: Qantas International Australian Airlines Qantas Domestic QantasLink Jetstar Engineering Technical Operations and Maintenance Services Airports and Catering Qantas Freight Qantas Holidays Qantas Defence Services.

Principal Competitors: Air New Zealand Ltd. Virgin Blue Airlines Pty Ltd.

  • "Aircraft Sale Underlines Qantas Rise," Financial Times , December 13, 1991.
  • "Australian Airlines Joins the Rat Race," Financial Times , April 26, 1991.
  • "An Australian View," Flight International , February 22, 1973.
  • "Australia Set for Airline Shake-up," Flight International , June 10, 1992.
  • "BA Defeated in Bid for Air New Zealand," Financial Times , December 22, 1988.
  • Ballantyne, Tom, "A Step in the Dark: Australia's New Aviation Policy Is a Gamble Designed to Help Smooth the Privatization of Qantas and Australian Airlines," Airline Business , May 1992, pp. 44+.
  • ------, "Qantas: Hard Times," Airline Business , May 1991, pp. 16+.
  • ------, "Flying Doctor," Airline Business , December 1993, pp. 30+.
  • ------, "Global Horizons: The Linkage with British Airways Should Open Up New Opportunities for Qantas," Airline Business, April 1993, pp. 32+.
  • Beyond the Dawn: A Brief History of Qantas Airways , Sydney: Qantas Public Affairs, 1997.
  • "Canvassing for Qantas," Flight International , August 28, 1971.
  • Deans, Alan, "Flight to a Merger: Australia's Main Airlines to Form Mega-Carrier," Far Eastern Economic Review , June 25, 1992, pp. 51+.
  • Dennis, William, "As It Profits, Qantas Plans Share Offering," Aviation Week & Space Technology , August 26, 2002, pp. 42f.
  • Donoghue, J.A., "Approaching Privatization," Air Transport World , July 1995, pp. 54+.
  • Eastway, Jocelyn, "Quantum Leap in Service for the Flying Kangaroo," BRW , October 22, 1999, pp. 104ff.
  • Flottau, Jens, "New Horizons Qantas Eyes Growth Outside of Its Home Market to Take Part in Industry Consolidation," Aviation Week & Space Technology , July 12, 2004, p. 42.
  • "Flying in Formation: Airline Alliances," Economist , July 22, 1995, pp. 59+.
  • Fysh, Hudson, Qantas at War , Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1968.
  • ------, Qantas Rising: The Autobiography of the Flying Fysh , London: Angus & Robertson, 1966.
  • ------, Wings to the World: The Story of Qantas 1945-1966 , Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1970.
  • Gallagher, Jackie, "The World's Favourite Jigsaw?," Airline Business , December 1993, pp. 50+.
  • Goetzl, David, "Qantas' Cranky Koala Returns to Bask in New TV Campaign," Advertising Age , March 22, 1999, pp. 3f.
  • ------, "Qantas Lands Olympic Presence Airline Goes for Glory Despite Losing Sponsorship Bid," Advertising Age , August 21, 2000, pp. 1f.
  • Gottliebsen, Robert, and Lucinda Schmidt, "Fight for the Skies," BRW , October 12, 1998, pp. 76ff.
  • Goyer, Robert, "Qantas Marks 50 Years of Kangaroo Route," Flying , April 1998, p. 38.
  • Gunn, John, Challenging Horizons: Qantas 1939-1954 , St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1987.
  • ------, High Corridors: Qantas 1954-1970 , St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1988.
  • ------, Pioneers of Flight: An Abridged History of Qantas Airways Limited , The Company, 1987.
  • ------, The Defeat of Distance: Qantas 1919-1939 , St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1985.
  • Hall, Timothy, Flying High: The Story of Hudson Fysh, Qantas, and the Trail-Blazing Days of Aviation , Sydney: Methuen of Australia, 1979.
  • "Hard Time for Qantas Too," Flight International , April 22, 1971.
  • Hill, Leonard, "Re-Creating Qantas," Air Transport World , May 1994, pp. 74+.
  • Leonard, Bruce, A Tradition of Integrity: The Story of Qantas Engineering and Maintenance , Sydney: UNSW Press, 1994.
  • "Many Happy Returns," Airline Business , September 1995, pp. 84+.
  • Mathews, Neelam, and Michael Mecham, "Qantas Proposed ANZ Stock Deal," Aviation Week & Space Technology , December 2, 2002, pp. 25f.
  • "NZ Backs Qantas Bid for Stake in Airline," Financial Times , September 20, 1988.
  • Phelan, Paul, "Adventurous Analyst," Flight International , August 12, 1992, p. 36.
  • "Qantas' Airline Loss Doubles," Financial Times , December 2, 1983.
  • "Qantas: Airline of the Year," Air Transport World , February 1996, pp. 30+.
  • Qantas Empire Airways and Q.A.N.T.A.S.: Chronological History , Sydney: Qantas Empire Airways, 1946.
  • "Qantas Faces Financial Crisis," Financial Times , March 18, 1991.
  • "Qantas on the Move," Interavia Aerospace World , September 1993, pp. 44-46.
  • "Qantas Renews Drive for Airline Link-up," Financial Times , June 29, 1988.
  • "Qantas Soars to Record Results," Financial Times , July 28, 1987.
  • "Shake-up in Australia," Flight International , December 21, 1972.
  • "Sir Lenox Hewitt Leaves Qantas," Flight International , July 5, 1980.
  • Skapinker, Michael, "UK Stays Qantas "Flagship' Route," Financial Times , July 18, 1997, p. 23.
  • Stackhouse, John, From the Dawn of Aviation: The Qantas Story, 1920-1995 , Double Bay, New South Wales: Focus Pub., 1995.
  • Tait, Nikki, "Qantas Finds Privatisation Route Far from Smooth," Financial Times , April 28, 1995, p. 26.
  • Thomas, Ian, "Sure-Footed Kangaroo," Air Transport World , September 2002, pp. 24-28.
  • ------, "The Quiet Roar," Air Transport World , September 1998, pp. 40ff.
  • "Threat to Airline," Daily Telegraph , January 12, 1979.
  • "USAir: BA's American Dream," Observer , July 12, 1992.
  • Westlake, Michael, and Jacqueline Rees, "Birds of a Feather," Far Eastern Economic Review , July 6, 1995, pp. 69-70.
  • Woolsey, James P., "Qantas Changing Course to Capture New Growth Possibilities," Air Transport World , May 1986, pp. 24+.
  • ------, "Qantas Is Trying to Rise from 1989 Turmoil," Air Transport World , June 1990, pp. 32+.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories , Vol.68. St. James Press, 2005.


South America to Australia / New Zealand

Between South America and Australia and New Zealand, there are a few options to cross the Pacific.

Santiago to Easter Island and Papeete Santiago to Auckland (LATAM)

Mataveri International airport on Easter Island (IPC) holds the record for the most isolated airport in the world, in terms of distance to the nearest other airport. LATAM serves it twice daily from Chile&rsquos capital, Santiago, more than 2,000 miles away. Once a week, LATAM&rsquos Boeing 787 Dreamliner continues to Papeete in French Polynesia, a further 2,600 miles of open ocean to the west.

LATAM operates a separate four-weekly nonstop between Santiago and Auckland, New Zealand. The 6,000-mile flight is also operated with a Boeing 787.

Santiago to Sydney and Melbourne

The flight between Chile&rsquos capital and Sydney by Australia&rsquos Qantas has the distinction of being the longest scheduled nonstop flight between cities in the Southern Hemisphere, at 7,060 miles. It&rsquos operated by one of the few Boeing 747s remaining in Qantas&rsquo fleet.

The one by LATAM, from Santiago to Melbourne in a 787-8, is just a bit shorter at 7,033 miles.

LATAM and Qantas are partners in the Oneworld alliance, with American Airlines. They codeshare on these routes and passengers can benefit from access to their respective regional networks at either end of their routes. That&rsquos going away at the end of this year, when LATAM plans to leave Oneworld.

Papeete to Auckland (Air Tahiti Nui) and Noumea (AirCalin)

LATAM&rsquos island-hopper to Santiago is French Polynesia&rsquos only regular link to South America, but the archipelago enjoys nonstop links to New Zealand.

Local carrier Air Tahiti Nui and Air New Zealand fly on alternate days nonstop between Auckland and Papeete, both using Boeing 787s.

Business class on an Air Tahiti Nui 787-9 Dreamliner (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

Papeete also has one of the longest domestic flights in the world: the weekly nonstop AirCalin flight to Noumea, New Caledonia, another French territory. In this case, the aircraft of choice is one of AirCalin&rsquos brand-new A330neos, covering almost 2,900 miles over the Pacific.

Buenos Aires to Auckland (Air New Zealand)

The Kiwi airline flies over the South Pacific and the Andes all the way to the Argentinian capital, 6,500 miles, in a Boeing 777-200ER &ndash soon to be replaced by a 787-9.

Aerolineas Argentinas used to serve New Zealand from South America too, but dropped New Zealand years ago and subsequently stopped service to Australia as well, leaving Qantas, Air New Zealand and LATAM as the only carriers connecting South America to Australia and New Zealand.


Airlines have been flying over the Pacific Ocean since the 1930s — here's how the practice evolved over the years

Flying over oceans has been a common practice in aviation since before World War II.

With the aerial mode of transportation offering quicker journey times than ocean liners, airlines quickly began to standardize the practice and offer reliable, scheduled services that would be a large step in making the world a smaller place.

Transatlantic flying was the primary focus as Western Europe and the eastern United States were closer in terms of both distance and historical ties but flying over the Pacific Ocean soon became an area of interest for airlines.

Though the stakes were higher, with a notable shortage of land existing between the Hawaiian Islands and the mainland US, establishing air routes across the Pacific was of strategic importance not only for airlines seeking to grow their route networks, but also the military as World War II loomed.

Thanks to innovations in aircraft technology, flying across the Pacific is a daily occurrence for countless airlines seeking to connect cites on both sides of the international dateline, as well as the numerous islands throughout Oceania.


Qantas is the national airline of Australia, founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920. The word QANTAS stands for Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited. Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh Fergus McMaster joined as Chairman, and Arthur Baird took care of aircraft maintenance. The airline's first aircraft was an Avro 504K. The aircraft had a cruising speed of 105 kilometres per hour and carried one pilot and two passengers. The airline started operating air mail services subsidised by the Australian government, linking railheads in western Queensland.

Qantas first airplane, the Avro 504K, delivered the 30 January 1921, used till 1926. (Photo:static.thisdayinaviation.com)

Between 1926 and 1928, Qantas built seven de Havilland DH.50s and a single DH.9 under licence in its Longreach hangar. In 1928 a chartered Qantas aircraft made the inaugural flight of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, departing from Cloncurry.

In the mid 1920's, de Havilland DH.50s airplanes, caplable of carrying 4 passengers were operated and built under licence in Australia. (Photo:1000aircraftphotos.com)

In 1934, QANTAS Limited and Britain's Imperial Airways formed a new company, Qantas Empire Airways Limited (QEA). The new airline commenced operations in December 1934 flying between Brisbane and Darwin using obsolescent DH.50 and de Havilland DH.61 biplanes. QEA flew internationally from May 1935, when the service from Darwin was extended to Singapore using newer de Havilland DH.86s. Imperial Airways operated the rest of the service through to London. In July 1938 this operation was replaced by a thrice weekly flying boat service using Shorts S.23 Empire flying boats. The Sydney to Southampton service took nine days, with passengers staying in hotels overnight. After Italy entered the war in June 1940, this became the Horseshoe Route between Sydney and Durban in South Africa with the South Africa – UK stage being by sea. This service was a vital line of communication between Australia and the United Kingdom and lasted through until Singapore fell in February 1942.

In 1938, after the formation of QAE, the airline flew the "flying boats" Shorts S.23 Empires which took 9 days to complete the Australia-United Kingdom trip. (Photo:thinglink.com)

Flying boat services were resumed with American-built Consolidated PBY Catalinas on 10 July 1943, with flights between Swan River, Perth and Koggala lake in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). This linked up with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC, the successor airline to Imperial Airways) service to London, maintaining the vital communications link with England.

In 1944 the Catalinas were augmented by conventional Consolidated B-24 Liberators, flying from Ratmalana via RAF Minneriya for refueling and then across the ocean to Learmonth. Later, Avro Lancastrians were flown on the route. They flew from Sydney to Gawler, stopping in Adelaide for refuelling, and on to Learmonth for the overnight stage. The service was renamed the Kangaroo Service and the passenger award became The Order of the Longest Hop. It was on this route that the Kangaroo logo was first used. After the war, the return trip could also go from Colombo to the Cocos Islands, then to Perth on to Sydney. These flights continued until 5 April 1946.

Qantas Consolidated B-24 Liberators aircraft were used in 1944 to operate the Sydney to London route. (Photo:b-24.weebly.com)

Qantas Avro Lancastrian planes took over the main route to London in December 1947, flying from Sydney to London to mark the very first flight of the Kangaroo Route. The flight carried 29 passengers and 11 crew and made stops in Darwin, Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo, and Tripoli. (Photo:businessclass.co.uk)

In 1947, QEA was nationalised, with the Australian Labor government led by Prime Minister Ben Chifley buying the shares owned by BOAC, followed by those of QANTAS Limited. Nationalised airlines were normal at the time, and the Qantas board encouraged this move. After the completion of the buyout, QANTAS Limited was wound up and liquidated to shareholders.

Shortly after nationalisation, QEA began its first services outside the British Empire to Tokyo via Darwin and Manila with Avro Lancastrian. These aircraft were also deployed between Sydney and London in co-operation with BOAC, but were soon replaced by Douglas DC-4s in 1949. Services to Hong Kong began around the same time. In 1947 the airline took delivery of Lockheed L-749 Constellations and these took over the trunk route to London. Flying boats again entered the fleet from 1950, when the first of five Short Sandringham aircraft entered service for flights between the Rose Bay flying boat base on Sydney Harbour and destinations in New Caledonia, New Hebrides, Fiji, New Guinea and Lord Howe Island.

In 1947, Qantas was nationalised and introduced new types such as the Lockheed L-749 Constellations to operate the busy "Kangaroo Route". (Photo:aussieairliners.org)

DC-4's entered the fleet of Qantas in 1949 and operated other medium haul routes. (Photo:aussieairliners.org)

In 1952 Qantas expanded services across the Indian Ocean to Johannesburg via Perth, the Cocos Islands and Mauritius, calling this the Wallaby Route. The network expanded across the Pacific to Vancouver via Auckland, Nadi, Honolulu and San Francisco in early 1954 when it took over the Southern Cross Route of British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines (BCPA). The first of the airline's Lockheed 1049 Super Constellations was delivered in early 1954.

In January 1958 Qantas became the second round-the-world airline, flying Super Constellations west from Australia to London through Asia and the Middle East on the Kangaroo route, and east to London on the Southern Cross route. It took delivery of new turboprop Lockheed Electra aircraft in 1959.

Lockheed 1049 Super Constellations arrived in 1954, operating the long haul routes to Europe and America. (Photo:aussieairliners.org)

The first turboprop aircraft was the Lockheed Electra arriving in 1959. (Photo:jetphotos.com)

In September 1956 Qantas ordered the Boeing 707 jet airliner and the first was delivered in June 1959. This order made the airline the first customer for the type outside the US. In March 1960 the airline ordered six of the turbofan derivative, Boeing 707-138B, with delivery scheduled for the following year. The first Qantas jet service was on 29 July 1959 from Sydney to San Francisco via Nadi and Honolulu. On 5 September 1959 Qantas became the third airline to fly jets across the North Atlantic, after BOAC and Pan Am, operating between London and New York as part of the service from Sydney.

Qantas entered the jet age in June 1959, with the arrival of the Boeing 707-138. (Photo:aussieairliners.org)

Air travel grew substantially in the early 1960s, so Qantas ordered the larger Boeing 707-338C series of aircraft. While waiting for these to be delivered, Qantas operated six de-Havilland Comet 4 aircraft wet leased from BOAC between 7 November 1959 to 30 May 1963. The same year, Qantas placed early options on the new Concorde airliner but the orders were eventually cancelled. Also in 1966, the Fiesta route opened from Sydney to London via Fiji, Tahiti, Mexico City, Acapulco, Nassau and Bermuda.

In September 1965 Qantas launched the first V-Jet service on the Kangaroo Route, via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 1967 the airline placed orders for the Boeing 747. This aircraft could seat up to 350 passengers, a major improvement over the Boeing 707. Orders were placed for four aircraft with deliveries commencing in 1971. Also in 1967, Qantas Empire Airways changed its name to Qantas Airways, the name of the airline today.

For a few years, leased de Havilland Comet 4 were operated, but in 1963 were withdrawn from service over safety concerns.(Photo: aussieairliners.org)

In 1971, the first Jumbo, Boeing 747-200 arrived in the new colours of Qantas. (Photo: jetphotos.com)

At the end of the 70's, Qantas placed options on two McDonnell Douglas DC10 aircraft for flights to Wellington, New Zealand. These were not taken up, and two Boeing 747SPs were ordered instead. In March 1979, Qantas operated its final Boeing 707 flight from Auckland to Sydney, and became the only airline in the world to have a fleet that consisted of Boeing 747s only. That same year Qantas introduced Business class, it was the first airline in the world to do so.

In 1984, a new refreshed logo designed by Hans Hulsbosch and his company Hulsbosch Communications debuted, dropping the wings from the kangaroo. The Boeing 767–200 was introduced in 1985, for New Zealand, Asia and Pacific routes. The same year, the Boeing 747–300 was introduced, featuring a stretched upper deck. The Boeing 747 fleet was upgraded from 1989 with the arrival of the new Boeing 747-400 series.

In 1985, the Boeing 767-200 was introduced into the fleet. (Photo:flickr.com)

For its long haul routes Qantas operated the stretched 747 version in 1985, the -300, later upgrading to the -400. (Photo:jetphotos.com)

In 1990, Qantas established Australia Asia Airlines to operate services to Taiwan. Several Boeing 747SP and Boeing 767 aircraft were transferred from Qantas service. The airline ceased operations in 1996. The Australian Government sold the domestic carrier Australian Airlines to Qantas in August 1992, giving it access to the national domestic market for the first time in its history. The purchase saw the introduction of the Boeing 737 and Airbus A300 to the fleet, though the A300s were soon retired. Qantas was privatised in March 1993, with British Airways taking a 25% stake in the airline.

In 1992, Qantas gained a big domestic market share after the sale of Australian Airlines to Qantas, it then introduced the Boeing 737-300. (Photo:airplane-pictures.net)

In 1998, Qantas co-founded the Oneworld alliance with American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. The alliance commenced operation in February 1999. Qantas ordered twelve Airbus A380-800s in 2000, with options for twelve more. Eight of these options were exercised in 2006, bringing firm orders to twenty. Qantas was the third airline to receive A380s, after Singapore Airlines and Emirates. The main domestic competitor to Qantas, Ansett Australia, collapsed on 14 September 2000. Market share for Qantas immediately neared 90%, with the relatively new budget airline Virgin Blue holding the remainder. To capitalise on this event, Qantas ordered Boeing 737–800 aircraft. At the same time, Virgin Blue announced a major expansion in October 2001, Qantas responded by creating a new cut-price subsidiary airline, Jetstar Airways.

Qantas received its first Airbus A330, for its trunk domestic routes and overseas operations in 2002. Qantas also expanded into the New Zealand domestic air travel market, firstly with a shareholding in Air New Zealand and then with a franchise takeover of Ansett New Zealand. In 2003, Qantas, introduced the Jetstar low cost model to New Zealand. British Airways sold its 18.5% stake in Qantas in September 2004.

To compete with new airlines, Qantas ordered and operated the Boeing 737-800. It became the backbone of the domestic fleet. (Photo:airplane-pictures.net)

For its long haul routes Qantas operated the stretched 747 version in 1985, the -300, later upgrading to the -400. (Photo:jetphotos.com)

For its long haul routes Qantas operated the stretched 747 version in 1985, the -300, later upgrading to the -400. (Photo:jetphotos.com)

On 14 December 2005 Qantas announced an order for 115 Boeing 787–8 and 787– 9 aircraft. The aircraft allowed Qantas to replace its Boeing 767–300 fleet, increase capacity and establish new routes. The first of the 787s were originally scheduled to be delivered in August 2008, with the 787-9s coming in 2011. However, on 10 April 2008 Qantas announced that the intended August delivery of the 787s has been delayed for a further 15 months from the original delivery date.

Now-retired this Boeing 747-400ER wore a special livery, the Wunala Dreaming livery from from 2003 to 2011. (Photo:airliners.net)

Also in 2008 the first Qantas Airbus A380 was handed over by Airbus at a ceremony on 19 September. Qantas' first route for the A380 was Melbourne to Los Angeles beginning on 20 October 2008, then from Sydney to Los Angeles. Subsequent aircraft to be delivered will further expand services, initially on the Kangaroo Route.

On 2 December 2008, British Airways confirmed that talks were underway regarding a possible merger between the two companies. However, the two companies called off their merger discussions over ownership issues. On 29 December 2008, Qantas flew its last scheduled Boeing 747–300 service, operating from Melbourne to Los Angeles via Auckland. In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis Qantas says it could "ditch" some first class seats on some short International routes to maximise profits.

The mighty Airbus A380 was delivered in 2008 and operated the ultra long haul flights to Los Angeles and London. (Photo:planespotters.net)

In 2012, Qantas reported a loss, citing high fuel prices, intense competition and industrial disputes. This was the first full year loss since Qantas was fully privatised 17 years previously, in 1995, and led to the airline cancelling its order of 35 new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, to reduce its spending. Also in that year on 26 March 2012, Qantas announced it would set up Jetstar Hong Kong with China Eastern Airlines Corporation, which was intended to begin flights in 2013, but became embroiled in a protracted approval process.

Qantas and Emirates began an alliance on 31 March 2013, in which their combined carriers offered 98 flights per week to Dubai, Losses continued into 2014 reporting year. In February 2014 additional cost-cutting measures to save A$2 billion, including the loss of 5,000 jobs. The carrier also reduced the size of its fleet by retiring aircraft and deferring deliveries and planned to sell some of its assets.


The airline returned to profit in 2015, it also sold its lease of Terminal 3 at Sydney Airport, which was due to continue until 2019, back to Sydney Airport Corporation. After the airline profits share in 2015, Qantas announced that it had ordered eight Boeing 787-9s to serve the first non-stop intercontinental routes from Australia to London, starting with Perth and eventually adding Melbourne and Sydney to the network.

In October 2016, Qantas' flying kangaroo was redesigned. The triangular container was reshaped to resemble the tail fin of a modern aircraft. The roo graphic was changed by losing some details such as the arms and bolstered with some gradated areas to simulate a three-dimensional feel. On Saturday, 24 March 2018, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was the first ever scheduled non-stop commercial flight between Australia and Europe. Flight QF9, was a 17- hour, 14,498 km journey from Perth to London Heathrow.

Also 2018 saw the airline switching its strategic transit point for Australia bound passengers from Dubai to Singapore after the airline changed its plans and focussed on the increase of traffic from the Asian markets. However the deal it made with Emirates back in 2013, continued for an additional 5 years with codeshare flights operated by Emirates.

March 2018 saw the introduction of the Boeing 787-9 and the first ever non-stop commercial service between Perth and London taking 17 hours. (Photo:planespotters.net)

During 2019, Qantas turned its attention to the upgrading and retrofitting its fleet of 12 Airbus A380 with new cabin and seats and increase connectivity options. It also set to receive more Boeing 787-9 to deploy them on the international routes across the pacific, asia and Europe. It has transferred many routes to its low cost subsidiary airline Jetstar and looking to open up new routes.


Qantas Flies Cross Pacific - History

Despite having a number of its aircraft transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force, Qantas continued to operate air services to Singapore and within Australia after war is declared in 1939.

Qantas crews ferried 19 Catalina flying boats from the USA to Australia in 1941. The first of these flights was just the second east to west aerial crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

Singapore services cease in February 1942 as Japanese forces occupy most of South East Asia. Qantas flying boats evacuated servicemen and civilians from the Dutch East Indies to Australia. Two Qantas Empire flying boats were shot down by Japanese aircraft in early 1942.

The Qantas hangar and flying boat servicing facilities were destroyed in the first Japanese air raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942. A Qantas Empire flying boat narrowly escapes destruction.

Qantas DH86 aircraft evacuate 78 people from Mt Hagen in New Guinea in May 1942.

Qantas completes urgent supply flights from Port Moresby to the front-line at Buna in late 1942.

From June 1943, Qantas operated the only regular air service to Australia across the Indian Ocean between Ceylon and Perth. Catalina flying boats crossed 5,600 kilometres non-stop with flying times of between 28 and 33 hours. Passengers were awarded a certificate of membership to ‘The Rare and Secret Order of the Double Sunrise’. Liberator aircraft took over in 1945 and passengers received ‘The Elevated Order of the Longest Hop.’ Qantas Liberators were the first to carry the flying kangaroo symbol.


Contents

Beginnings: 1920 to 1934 Edit

Qantas was founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited [1] by Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh. Fergus McMaster joined them as Chairman, as did Arthur Baird to take care of aircraft maintenance. McGinness left QANTAS for other interests in 1922, and Hudson Fysh remained with the company as General Manager & Managing Director. He retired as Sir Hudson Fysh KBE DFC, Chairman of QANTAS in 1966. [ citation needed ]

The airline's first aircraft was an Avro 504K purchased for £1425. The aircraft had a cruising speed of 105 kilometres per hour (65 mph) and carried one pilot and two passengers. [2] On 2 November 1922, eighty-four-year-old outback pioneer Alexander Kennedy became the first passenger on the first scheduled service (piloted by Hudson Fysh) receiving ticket number one for a flight from Longreach to Cloncurry. [3] The airline operated air mail services subsidised by the Australian government, linking railheads in western Queensland. [ citation needed ]

Between 1926 and 1928, Qantas built seven de Havilland DH.50s and a single DH.9 under licence in its Longreach hangar. [4] In 1928 a chartered Qantas aircraft made the inaugural flight of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, departing from Cloncurry. [5]

Flying boats and war: 1934 to 1945 Edit

In 1934, QANTAS Limited and Britain's Imperial Airways (a forerunner of British Airways) formed a new company, Qantas Empire Airways Limited (QEA). Each partner held 49%, with two per cent in the hands of an independent arbitrator. [6] The new airline commenced operations in December 1934 flying between Brisbane and Darwin using obsolescent DH.50 and de Havilland DH.61 biplanes. [7]

QEA flew internationally from May 1935, when the service from Darwin was extended to Singapore using newer de Havilland DH.86s. Imperial Airways operated the rest of the service through to London. In July 1938 this operation was replaced by a thrice-weekly flying boat service using Short S.23 Empire flying boats. The Sydney to Southampton service took nine days, with passengers staying in hotels overnight. [8] For the single year of peace that the service operated, it was profitable and 94% of services were on time. After Italy entered the war in June 1940, this became the Horseshoe Route between Sydney and Durban in South Africa with South Africa – UK stage being by the sea. This service was a vital line of communication between Australia and the United Kingdom and lasted until Singapore fell in February 1942. Enemy action and accidents destroyed half of the fleet of ten when most of the fleet was taken over by the Australian government for war service. [9]

Flying boat services were resumed with American-built Consolidated PBY Catalinas on 10 July 1943, with flights between Swan River, Perth and Koggala lake in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). This linked up with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC, the successor airline to Imperial Airways) service to London, maintaining the vital communications link with England. The 5,652 km non-stop sector was the longest flown up to that time by any airline, with an average flying time of 28 hours. Passengers received a certificate of membership to The Rare and Secret Order of the Double Sunrise as the sun rose twice during the flight. [10] [11]

In 1944 the Catalinas were augmented by conventional Consolidated B-24 Liberators, flying from Ratmalana via RAF Minneriya for refueling and then across the ocean to Learmonth. Later, Avro Lancastrians were flown on the route. They flew from Sydney to Gawler, stopping in Adelaide for refuelling, and on to Learmonth for the overnight stage. On the next leg of the trip, they flew to Ratmalana, where the aircraft refuelled, then on to Karachi, where BOAC crews took over for the final segment of the journey to the UK. The lengthening of the runway at Ratmalana enabled the diversion to Minneria to be eliminated, and soon Ratmalana was replaced by RAF Negombo. The service was renamed the Kangaroo Service and the passenger award became The Order of the Longest Hop. It was on this route that the Kangaroo logo was first used. After the war, the return trip could also go from Colombo to Cocos Islands, then to Perth on to Sydney. These flights continued until 5 April 1946. [11] [12] [13]

Revenue Passenger Kilometers, scheduled flights only, in millions
Year Traffic
1950 142
1955 434
1960 1124
1965 2471
1971 4208
1975 10142
1980 15769
1985 17304
1995 51870
2000 63495

The post-war years: 1945 to 1959 Edit

In 1947, QEA was nationalised, with the Australian Labor government led by Prime Minister Ben Chifley buying the shares owned by BOAC, followed by those of QANTAS Limited. Nationalised airlines were normal at the time, and the Qantas board encouraged this move. After the completion of the buyout, QANTAS Limited was wound up and liquidated to shareholders. [ citation needed ]

Shortly after nationalisation, QEA began its first services outside the British Empire-to Tokyo via Darwin and Manila with Avro Lancastrian aircraft. [14] These aircraft were also deployed between Sydney and London in co-operation with BOAC, but were soon replaced by Douglas DC-4s. Services to Hong Kong began in 1949 as well. [7]

In 1947 the airline took delivery of Lockheed L-749 Constellations and these took over the trunk route to London. Flying boats again entered the fleet from 1950, when the first of five Short Sandringham aircraft entered service for flights between the Rose Bay flying boat base on Sydney Harbour and destinations in New Caledonia, New Hebrides, Fiji, New Guinea (dubbed the "Bird of Paradise" route) and Lord Howe Island. [15]

In 1952 Qantas expanded services across the Indian Ocean to Johannesburg via Perth, the Cocos Islands and Mauritius, calling this the Wallaby Route. Around this time, the British Government pressured Qantas to purchase the de Havilland Comet jet airliner, but Hudson Fysh was dubious about the economics of the aircraft and successfully resisted this. The network expanded across the Pacific to Vancouver via Auckland, Nadi, Honolulu and San Francisco in early 1954 when it took over the Southern Cross Route of British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines (BCPA). [14] The first of the airline's Lockheed 1049 Super Constellations was delivered in early 1954. [7]

In January 1958 Qantas became the second round-the-world airline, flying Super Constellations west from Australia to London through Asia and the Middle East on the Kangaroo route, and east to London on the Southern Cross route. [16] It took delivery of new turboprop Lockheed Electra aircraft in 1959. [ citation needed ]

In September 1956 Qantas ordered the Boeing 707-138 jet airliner and the first was delivered in June 1959. [17] This order made the airline the first customer for the type outside the US. [17] : 53 The special shortened version for Qantas was the original version Boeing offered to airlines. Boeing lengthened the aircraft by ten feet for all other customers, which destroyed the economics for Qantas Pacific routes. The airline successfully negotiated with Boeing to have the aircraft for which it had originally contracted. [18] This order was later followed up by another purchase by Qantas of the same variant. In March 1960 the airline ordered six of the turbofan derivative, Boeing 707-138B, with delivery scheduled for the following year. [17] : 64

The jet age: 1959 to 1992 Edit

The first jet aircraft on the Australian register (and the 29th 707 built) was registered VH-EBA and named City of Canberra. This aircraft returned to Australia as VH-XBA [19] in December 2006 for display in the Qantas Founders Outback Museum at Longreach, Queensland. [20] The Boeing 707-138 was a shorter version of the Boeing 707 that was ordered only by Qantas. The first Qantas jet service was on 29 July 1959 from Sydney to San Francisco via Nadi and Honolulu. On 5 September 1959 Qantas became the third airline to fly jets across the North Atlantic, after BOAC and Pan Am, operating between London and New York as part of the service from Sydney. [21] All of the turbojet aircraft were converted to upgraded turbofan engines in 1961 and were rebranded as V-Jets from the Latin vannus meaning fan. [22]

Air travel grew substantially in the early 1960s, so Qantas ordered the larger Boeing 707-338C series of aircraft. While waiting for these to be delivered, Qantas operated six deHavilland Comet 4 aircraft wet-leased from BOAC between 7 November 1959 to 30 May 1963. The aircraft were crewed by BOAC flight and cabin crew and featured Qantas titles on the fuselage in place of the BOAC titles. [23] In 1966 the airline diversified its business by opening the 450-room Wentworth Hotel in Sydney. The same year, Qantas placed early options on the new Concorde airliner but the orders were eventually cancelled. Also in 1966, the Fiesta route opened from Sydney to London via Fiji, Tahiti, Mexico City, Acapulco, Nassau and Bermuda. In September 1965 Qantas launched the first V-Jet service on the Kangaroo Route, via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [ citation needed ]

In 1967 the airline placed orders for the Boeing 747. This aircraft could seat up to 350 passengers, a major improvement over the Boeing 707. Orders were placed for four aircraft with deliveries commencing in 1971. The later delivery date allowed Qantas to take advantage of the −200B version, which better suited its requirements. Also in 1967, Qantas Empire Airways changed its name to Qantas Airways, the name of the airline today. [24]

When Cyclone Tracy devastated the town of Darwin at Christmas 1974, Qantas established a world record for the most people ever embarked on a single aircraft when it evacuated 673 people on a single Boeing 747 flight. It also established a record embarking 327 people on a Boeing 707. [25] Later in the decade, Qantas placed options on two McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft for flights to Wellington, New Zealand. These were not taken up, and two Boeing 747SPs were ordered instead. In March 1979, Qantas operated its final Boeing 707 flight from Auckland to Sydney, and became the only major airline in the world to have an all-747 fleet. That same year Qantas introduced Business class—the first airline in the world to do so. [26]

In 1975 Qantas was headquartered in Qantas House in the City of Sydney. [27]

The Boeing 767-200 was introduced in 1985, [26] for New Zealand, Asia and Pacific routes. The same year, the Boeing 747-300 was introduced, featuring a stretched upper deck. The Boeing 747 fleet was upgraded from 1989 with the arrival of the new Boeing 747-400 series. The delivery flight of the first 747-400 was a world record for commercial aircraft, flying the 17,850 km (11,091 mi) from London to Sydney non-stop. [7]

In 1990, Qantas established Australia Asia Airlines to operate services to Taiwan. Several Boeing 747SP and Boeing 767 aircraft were transferred from Qantas service. The airline ceased operations in 1996. [28]

Privatisation: 1992 to 2006 Edit

The Australian Government sold the domestic carrier Australian Airlines to Qantas in August 1992, giving it access to the national domestic market for the first time in its history. The purchase saw the introduction of the Boeing 737 and Airbus A300 to the fleet, though the A300s were soon retired. [28] Qantas was privatised in March 1993, with British Airways taking a 25% stake in the airline for A$665 million. [29] After a number of delays, the remainder of the Qantas float proceeded in 1995. The public share offer took place in June and July of that year, with the government receiving A$1.45 billion in proceeds. The remaining shares were disposed of in 1995–96 and 1996–97. [30] Investors outside Australia took a strong interest in the float, securing 20% of the stock which, together with British Airways' 25% holding, meant that, once floated on the stock exchange, Qantas was 55% Australian-owned and 45% foreign-owned. [31] By law, Qantas must be at least 51% Australian-owned, and the level of foreign ownership is constantly monitored. [ citation needed ]

In 1998, Qantas co-founded the Oneworld alliance with American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. The alliance commenced operation in February 1999, [32] with Iberia Airlines and Finnair joining later that year. Oneworld markets itself at the premium travel market, offering passengers a larger network than each airline could on its own. The airlines also work together to provide operational synergies to keep costs down. [ citation needed ]

Qantas ordered twelve Airbus A380-800s in 2000, with options for twelve more. Eight of these options were exercised in 2006, bringing firm orders to twenty. Qantas is the third airline to receive A380s, after Singapore Airlines and Emirates. [33] [34]

The main domestic competitor to Qantas, Ansett Australia, collapsed on 14 September 2001. [35] Market share for Qantas immediately neared 90%, with the relatively new budget airline Virgin Blue holding the remainder. To capitalise on this event, Qantas ordered Boeing 737-800 aircraft, obtaining them a mere three months later. [36] This unusually short time between order and delivery was possible due to the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States the subsequent downturn in the US aviation market meant American Airlines no longer needed the 737-800 aircraft it had ordered. The delivery positions were reassigned to Qantas on condition the aircraft remained in American Airlines configuration for later possible lease purposes. [37]

At the same time, Virgin Blue announced a major expansion in October 2001, [38] which was successful in eventually pushing the Qantas domestic market share back to 60%. To prevent any further loss of market share, Qantas responded by creating a new cut-price subsidiary airline, Jetstar Airways. This has been successful in keeping the status quo at around 65% for Qantas Group airlines and 30% for Virgin Blue, with other regional airlines accounting for the rest of the market. [ citation needed ]

Qantas had also developed a full-service all-economy international carrier focused on the holiday and leisure market, which had taken on the formerly used Australian Airlines name. This airline ceased operating its own-liveried aircraft in July 2006, with the staff operating Qantas services before being closed entirely in September 2007, with the staff joining the new Qantas base in Cairns. [39]

Qantas has also expanded into the New Zealand domestic air travel market, firstly with a shareholding in Air New Zealand and then with a franchise takeover of Ansett New Zealand. In 2003, Qantas attempted and failed to obtain regulatory approval to purchase a larger (but still minority) stake in Air New Zealand. Subsequently, Qantas stepped-up competition on the trans-Tasman routes, introducing Jetstar to New Zealand. British Airways sold its 18.5% stake in Qantas in September 2004 for £425 million, though keeping its close ties with Qantas intact. [40]

On 13 December 2004, the first flight of Jetstar Asia Airways took off from its Singapore hub to Hong Kong, marking Qantas' entry into the Asian cut-price market. Qantas owns 44.5% of the carrier. [ citation needed ]

On 14 December 2005 Qantas announced an order for 115 Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 aircraft (45 firm orders, 20 options and 50 purchase rights). [41] The aircraft will allow Qantas to replace its Boeing 767-300 fleet, increase capacity and establish new routes. [42] This announcement came after a long battle between Boeing and Airbus to meet the airline's needs for fleet renewal and future routes. The first of the 787s were originally scheduled to be delivered in August 2008, with the 787-9s coming in 2011. However, on 10 April 2008 Qantas announced that the intended August delivery of the 787s has been delayed for a further 15 months from the original delivery date. In the interim, Qantas Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon stated that Qantas would claim substantial liquidated damages from Boeing under the purchase agreement, and use those funds to offset the costs of leasing alternative aircraft. [43]

Although Qantas did not choose the Boeing 777-200LR, it has been rumoured that Qantas is still looking into buying aircraft capable of flying Sydney–London non-stop. [44]

In December 2006, Qantas was the subject of a failed bid from a consortium calling itself Airline Partners Australia. This bid failed in April 2007, with the consortium not gaining the percentage of shares it needed to complete the takeover. [45]

Qantas since 2007 Edit

Qantas's main international hubs are Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. However, Qantas operates a significant number of international flights into and out of Singapore Changi, Auckland, Los Angeles International and London Heathrow airports. Its domestic hubs are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide airports, but the company also has a strong presence in Cairns and Canberra airports. It serves a range of international and domestic destinations. [ citation needed ]

Qantas wholly owns Jetstar, Jetconnect (which operates international services between Australia and New Zealand), QantasLink (including Sunstate Airlines and Eastern Australia Airlines), and Qantas Freight (which itself wholly owns Australian airExpress and Express Freighters Australia). [46] [47] Qantas did have a minor 4.2% stake in Air New Zealand, but this was sold on 26 June 2007. Qantas has a 46% shareholding in Fiji Airways. [48]

Qantas has stepped up the expansion of Jetstar, with the launch of international services (in addition to existing trans-Tasman and Jetstar Asia flights) to leisure destinations such as Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Osaka and Honolulu having begun in November 2006. On some routes (such as Sydney–Honolulu) Jetstar supplements existing Qantas operations, but many routes are new to the network. The lower cost base of Jetstar allows the previously unprofitable or marginal routes to be operated at greater profitability. [ citation needed ]

The Boeing 747, which constituted the entire Qantas fleet in the early 1980s, is being retired by the airline. The last three 747-300s were retired at the end of 2008 [49] and the 747-400 series have, at present, been gradually phased out since 2012, replaced by the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. [ citation needed ]

On 1 July 2008 Qantas became a 58% shareholder in the Jetset Travelworld Group (known as Helloworld Travel from 2013 [50] and Helloworld Travel from 2017 [51] ), by corporatising its leisure and corporate travel divisions Qantas Holidays and Qantas Business Travel and selling them to Jetset Travelworld Group. This deal created a vertically integrated travel company with retail, wholesale and corporate sales arms. [52]

Also in 2008 the first Qantas Airbus A380 was handed over by Airbus at a ceremony on 19 September. [53] During this ceremony, Qantas announced that it was considering ordering four more A380s. [54] The aircraft arrived on Australian soil on the morning of 21 September, when it touched down at Sydney Airport. [55] Qantas' first route for the A380 was Melbourne to Los Angeles beginning on 20 October 2008, then from Sydney to Los Angeles. The second A380, which was delivered in December 2008, increased the service frequency on the same routes. Subsequent aircraft to be delivered will further expand services, initially on the Kangaroo Route. [56] [57]

On 2 December 2008, British Airways confirmed that talks were underway regarding a possible merger between the two companies. They would merge as a dual-listed company with shares listed both on the London Stock Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange. [58] However, on 18 December 2008, the two companies called off their merger discussions over ownership issues in the aftermath of a merger. [59] If the merger between Qantas and British Airways and the previously announced merger between British Airways and Iberia Airlines had both occurred, it would have created the largest airline company in the world. [60]

On 29 December 2008, Qantas flew its last scheduled Boeing 747-300 service, operating from Melbourne to Los Angeles via Auckland. The final 747-300 flight was on 20 January 2009 when the last of the three 747-300s was ferried to the United States for storage, bringing to a close over 24 years and 524,000 flying hours of operations. The final 747-300 flight was also the last time a Qantas aircraft flew with a flight engineer. [49]

In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis Qantas says it could "ditch" some first-class seats on some short International routes to maximise profits. Its share price has been steadily rising after its low point in March 2009 and the airline's profit fell by 88 per cent to $117 million for the year to June but despite this, it was one of the few international airlines to report a profit for the financial year. [61] The company blamed the figures on a drop in customer demand and said it was scrapping dividend payments. Qantas said passengers would only be able to fly first class between Australia and London, via Singapore, and between Australia and Los Angeles. [62]

In November 2012, Qantas took full ownership of Australian airExpress after buying Australia Post's 50% shareholding. At the same time it sold its 50% interest in StarTrack to Australia Post. [63]

Paris-based Australian designer Martin Grant is responsible for the new Qantas airline staff uniforms that were publicly unveiled on 16 April 2013. Qantas ambassador and model Miranda Kerr assisted with the launch of the new outfit for which the colours of navy blue, red, and fuchsia pink are combined. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce stated that the new design "speaks of Australian style on the global stage" at the launch event that involved Qantas employees modelling the uniform. Grant consulted with Qantas staff members over the course of one year to finalise the 35 styles that were eventually created. [64]

To account for a low Australian dollar and rising fuel costs, Qantas announced at the end of July 2013 that fuel surcharges on international flights would increase by A$75 (one way). In addition, domestic base fares will rise by two to three per cent. [65]

On 24 March 2018, a Boeing 787 operated the first ever scheduled non-stop commercial flight between Australia and Europe. [66] Flight QF9, was a 17-hour, 14,498 km (9,009-mile) journey from Perth to London Heathrow. In 2019 Qantas launched 19-hour flights on a restricted payload between New York and London to Sydney with 787-9s. [67] [68] In April 2018, Qantas sold its Q Catering arm to dnata. [69] In February 2019, Qantas purchased a 20% shareholding in Alliance Airlines. [70] [71]

The Qantas kangaroo logo made its first appearance in 1944, painted on a Liberator to celebrate the renaming of the Indian Ocean Route to "Kangaroo Service". The design was adapted from the design on the reverse side of the contemporary one-penny coin. [72] Since then, the kangaroo has undergone four major changes. [73] [74] To better suit its airborne nature, wings were added to the kangaroo in 1947 by Gert Sellheim [75] and it was painted on the tail of the Lockheed Super Constellations in 1954. [72] These Super Constellations used a predominantly white livery with a red cheatline.

Boeing 707 with "Red Stripe" livery featuring red wordmark on whitetail and red cheatline, livery used 1959–1961. Piston aircraft wore a similar, but identical livery from 1955 to 1959.

Boeing 707 with "V-Jet" livery used 1961–1971. Piston and turboprop aircraft wore a similar livery, with a white tail and a red stripe with the Qantas wordmark within it and Flying Kangaroo symbol positioned above the stripe from 1959 to 1971.

Boeing 747 with "Flying Kangaroo" livery used 1971–1984 note ochre cheatline

In 1959, Qantas was the first airline outside the United States to operate the Boeing 707 jetliner, [76] making its inaugural flight from Sydney to San Francisco on 29 July 1959. [72] The aircraft of the initial 707 fleets were painted in 'Red Stripe' livery with white tailfins marked with the red "flying kangaroo" logo and the Qantas wordmark or aircraft registration as used on other aircraft since 1955. [72] [77] Piston and turboprop aircraft later had tailfins carrying a red stripe with the Qantas wordmark within it and the flying kangaroo symbol from 1959 to 1971. [ citation needed ]

Qantas later purchased the 707-138B variant with turbofan engines in 1961 these were prominently painted in 'V-Jet' livery with red tailfins marked with the words "V-Jet" ("V" standing for the Latin word vannus, meaning fan). [76] [77] In 1998, actor John Travolta acquired one of the 707-138Bs originally delivered to Qantas in 1961, had it repainted in the V-Jet livery in 2002, and donated it to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society. [78]

To mark the arrival of the new 747 in 1971, the new Qantas livery made the Flying Kangaroo logo the dominant tailfin element and the cheatline color was changed to ochre. [72] [77]

Boeing 767 with "'Roo" livery and "Spirit of Australia" strapline, livery used 1984–2007

Airbus A380 with "New 'Roo" livery used 2007–2016

Boeing 787 with Newson/Houston Group-designed "Silver 'Roo" livery used 2016–present

The livery was updated again in 1984 preceding the launch of Boeing 767 service for Qantas in 1985. In the 1984 livery, the Flying Kangaroo on the tail lost its wings [79] and the colored cheatline was dropped, but the tailfin color now extended onto the fuselage, similar to the livery of French airline UTA without coloured doors and a thin gold stripe on the tailfin's leading edge. [72] Hans Hulsbosch worked on the 1984 logo update and proposed the strapline "Spirit of Australia", which had previously been used in marketing materials, should be added to the exterior markings. [75]

The next major revision occurred in 2007, with the so-called 'New Roo' livery bringing a "polished, contoured Flying Kangaroo". [72] and different text positioning, primarily to deal with technical issues arising from changes to the shape of airliner tails and surface areas on stabilisers being designated as no paint areas on the Airbus A380s. [73] [74] The 2007 revision was carried out by Hulsbosch Communications, leading a creative team that included input from Peter Morrissey, Neil Perry, and Marc Newson. [75] The revision also included an exclusive typeface to match the new kangaroo and was first deployed on a 767, ahead of the launch of Airbus A380 service. Qantas Executive General Manager John Borghetti stated "the differences are subtle but distinctive . our new flying kangaroo is sleeker and more contoured than the current version - a modern take on a design that has stood the test of time." [74] [80] The kangaroo's feet were carried forward to avoid the illusion that they had been cut off by the aircraft's wings, and the wing/tail was brought back to give it a more dynamic, in-flight look. [75]

In 2016, a new livery with an updated kangaroo logo and exclusive typography designed by Marc Newson in partnership with Houston Group [81] [82] was unveiled on an Airbus A330-300 in preparation for the delivery of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner for Qantas. [83] According to Newson, a silver band was added "to give a more premium feel" and the typography was "carefully streamlined". The Qantas wordmark was added to the belly to enhance visual recognition from the ground. [81] The Flying Kangaroo was made significantly more abstract, losing its arms and having a simplified head. [84] The 1968 Flying Kangaroo symbol was also applied to the nose. [85] The triangular symbol was reshaped to resemble the tail fin of a modern aircraft. The "Flying Kangaroo" graphic was changed by losing some details such as the arms and bolstered with some gradated areas to simulate a three-dimensional feel. [ citation needed ]


Since the time of its inception about one hundred years ago, Qantas has always been one of the leading premium airlines in the world. It has ranked amongst the topmost airlines in providing world-class products and services to its customers. The recent years, however, has witnessed Qantas sinking from the former overall number one position to relatively lower ranks (currently, 8th position globally) and also in terms of profitability (Qantas airways, 2012). In the more recent years, with an increasing competition, the airlines around the world have focused strongly on their product strategies. Innovative and creative products & services form the basis of success for every brand and therefore, Qantas should stress more on it (Ansoff, 2007). The numbers of wide body aircrafts are currently limited with Qantas, which makes them fall behind brands like Qatar and Emirates. Wide bodied aircrafts provide enhanced comfort levels for every customer, along with increased privacy. With more people travelling to worldwide destinations, the provided meals should be ideally customized for every customer, which Qantas has not been able to incorporate into their services till now (Freeman, 2010). The economy class passengers have recently been complaining of getting deprived of the better services from in-flight crew. There have been problems arising related to luggage losses and flight delays to and from major world destinations. The aged customers often suffer during flights due to lack of proper health arrangements (some flights lack the health safety measures, as promoted). Qantas provides In-flight experiences in the form of movies, television programs, radio, CDs, audio books, games etc. Wireless in flight entertainment, internet surfing, mobile usage, telecommunications etc. are also provided. Loss of internet or mobile connection midair has been reported and personalized demands like separate kids entertainments or audio/video-on-demand is lacking (Paul, 2011). Numbers of magazines are also limited in numbers. The ground services of Qantas have also been criticized in the recent times as not living up to the level of excellence that the brand promises. The lounges at the major locations need partial or full revamping tin order to attract more customers and strengthen the brand name. Despite being a charter member of the One World Alliance, Qantas still has some lacking as far as joint services with other world renowned airlines is concerned. The connecting flights can be arranged better that way. More numbers of locations can also be covered that way. There are a few routes which Qantas is serving to, despite lack of proper demand and it should be corrected immediately. Qantas’ low cost airline Jetstar has been positioned as a no-frills airline but tending more towards a regular airline, which is sometimes very confusing for customers, resulting in losing valuable customers/prospective customers (Thompson, 2010). the simple and yet high quality products expected at Jetstar often don’t get delivered in the experience that it provides. Services to business customers should be crafted more intelligently. Queues at terminals, flight delays, luggage losses and better quality aircrafts are the aspects which should be paid immediate attention to. The factor of ‘certainty’, great customer relationship, consistency in company messages and transparency previously associated with Qantas is missing and steps should be adopted to mend these areas (Damsch, 2010). Qantas’ pricing strategies should be looked deeply into. The recent global financial turmoil has harmed the airlines market all over the world. Every organization is trying to attract more numbers of customers to earn much needed profits. The recent financial losses of Qantas are a direct result of these two factors. Even a very strong brand image cannot command the premium prices that Qantas charges. Customers are opting for airlines which are lesser priced and even low cost. Qantas should pay attention to building a very strong brand and cutting prices (maintaining a lower profit margin) and portray them as customer benefits (frequent flyer) & offers and not as discounts (discounts tarnish brand image). Even in the markets with huge demands, the pricing should be kept competitive. This would not only nullify the chances of other airlines entering into the consumer Consideration Set, but also intrigue customers from lower price segments to experience Qantas (Hussey, 2012). Penetrative pricing had not been used very often by Qantas in the past and some of the growing markets have been lost that way, but it should be used now. Price skimming has become more difficult in the current years and thus penetration pricing along with strong brand image is a more preferable path for Qantas. The company should be more cautious about spending money on promotions as its recent ‘Re-positioning’ campaign of Qantas as ‘Spirit of the Australians’ have been criticized as a waste of money and a vain exercise. Internet is a low-cost medium and it has yet not been used to the fullest by Qantas. Presence of internet ads in strategic partners’ sites or in the particular sites visited by target audiences, are not ample enough. Pop-up ads/ pop-down / rich content /flash ads are little in number. Its blog is not attractive and lacks customer response. Its Facebook page has been rapped as impersonal and mechanical, with the company being tagged as a ‘dying octopus’ (Jackacki, 2001). Qantas television ads are thrown blindly at the public instead of just at the target audience. Enough billboards are not being used at strategic locations and magazine ads are not enough in numbers & not hitting target audience properly. Sales promotion should be used through the year and direct marketing used more often than now. Stronger PR activities should be pursued along with sponsoring correct events (Fifield, 2012). BTL activities like expositions, conventions, exhibitions, tourism fairs etc are not attended in good numbers. Qantas direct sales counters are often seen to have long queues at the airport with the services being slow and not customer-friendly. The retail outlets of Qantas do not necessarily have the atmosphere to make customers comfortable, with a lack in numbers of experts present. Internet sales give maximum profit as the costs involved are the minimum, but Qantas model does not promote internet sales as required. Internet travel sites are not used enthusiastically for selling tickets and there have been many incidences of travel agents not pushing the Qantas tickets to their own customers. Telephone-sales have also slowed down in the recent times (Handlechner, 2008).

Revamped branding campaign to create stronger brands. Quality services should be meshed up with branding to retain old customers and gain new ones.

At least 25 new Airbus and Boeing wide bodied aircrafts needed to serve customers with excellence and with more frequent services. Customers would enjoy more privacy.

Lesser numbers of seats in each row. Maximum pushback and leg-space. Larger washrooms

Customization of aircraft meals as per customer request.

Consistency in service standards in every class

Luggage loss should be brought down to a minimum (Jones and Hill, 2009)

Flight delays should be zero

Excellent on-board health arrangements. Top class disability assistance (e.g. allowing service dogs in passenger cabins). Medical services to treat any emergency in midair. Elderly and the expectant mothers should get special care. Infants and young travelers need special attendance

Faster and smarter online and mobile check ins

Strategic alliances with more One World partners to crate unbroken networks throughout the world (already has with British Airways and planning with Emirates)

Build up more in-flight entertainment options and entertainment system (like Oryx). Uninterrupted mobile, internet, power outlet services. Video / audio on demand services required. Special entertainment programs for children. Just released movies (maybe on the very same day) required to be added in movie list. Latest and popular television programming should also be included. Prizes can be offered for answering question related to in-flight movies. More variety in magazine selection should be shown (Ulph, 2011)

Premium lounges should be revamped at Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Singapore

Better, more elaborate coverage of the South American sky

Focus on developing countries, especially BRIC nations, with penetration pricing

Frequent flyer needs to add up more customer benefits (highest flyer special benefit, premium cabins fetching double points, bonus gold or silver coins, epiQure launch etc.). quality service with benefits add up to brand loyalty

Jetstar should be positioned as no-frills. The best of no-frills, low cost services should be provided

Qantas needs to build up a brand stronger than ever to regain old glory (Ansoff, 2007)


Pilot's grandfather identified in footage

One of the Qantas crew seen in the film has been identified as Captain Bill Crowther, whose son and grandson would later go on to fly for the Australian airline.

His grandson Charles Crowther, who currently flies for Qantas in Perth, was shown the footage last week and said it was "amazing" and "brings it to life".

"It took them four days for what takes me five hours," he said.

"I've since found out that he had a few quite hairy occurrences during the war and a few before the war as well.

"He passed away when I was 13 — it would have been really nice if he was here so I could hear some of his stories."

Captain Bill Crowther was awarded a Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air for serving during the war.

Among other things, he was commended for saving one of the flying boats during the air raid on Darwin in 1942.


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