Qantas has launched a special website to help celebrate it’s 100th year. Qantas was founded 16 November 1920, with operations commencing in March 1921. Qantas is the third oldest airline by years of service, and third oldest continuously operated airline in the world behind KLM and Avianca.
The airline was created in the regional Queensland town of Winton by Gallipoli veterans Sir Wilmot Fysh, Paul McGinness, and businessman Sir Fergus McMaster. The name was an acronym for Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services. The airline moved to the Queensland regional city of Longreach the following year. The first aircraft were an Avro 540K and a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E. Original flights were demonstration and charter flights and joyrides. The first passenger was Alexander Kennedy who paid £11 (2 weeks wages) for the trip between Longreach and Cloncurry. By 1922 the airline needed larger aircraft for airmail flights between Charleville and Cloncurry.
The airline has also launched 100 year memorabilia, including a limited edition $1 coin set designed with the Royal Australian Mint. Other 100 year merchandise includes t-shirts, caps, prints and models. The items can be bought with cash, frequent flyer points or a combination.
A travelling exhibition will also be held next year with dates and locations to be announced. The airline is also asking for suggestions for what to include in a time capsule to be opened in 2120.
Qantas also provides strategic airlift capability in the times of national emergencies, including the 2002 Bali bombings. After the bombings, Qantas flew almost 5000 people back to Australia on 9 flights, ferried medical specialists and helping bring in artificial skin from the US.
The Qantas 100 year website can be found at qantas.com/100
Some of the Qantas highlights include:
1924 SM Bruce becomes first Australian Prime Minister to fly on Qantas
1926 Arthur Baird, Qantas chief engineer begins building DH50 aircraft under licence, becoming one of few airlines to build and fly it’s own aircraft.
1927 Dorothy Reis becomes first female pilot in Queensland
1928 Contracted to fly first Royal Flying Doctor Service flights, flying 225 patients n the first year
1930 Moves to Brisbane. Flys first 1 million miles
1932 Becomes sole Australian carrier for UK-Australia passenger and air mail service
1936 the four engine DH86 flys the first overseas flight for the airline – Brisbane to Singapore. The first overseas passenger was Lady Edwina Mountbatten
1938 moves to Sydney and hires first flight stewards
Some Qantas aircraft were transfered to the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II.
1941 The airline ferried 19 Catalina flying boats from the US to Australia in 1941
1942 Two flying boats were shot down by Japanese forces early in the year. The Qantas hangar and flying boat facilities were destroyed in the first Japanese air attack on Darwin.
1943 the airline performed urgent supply flights to the front line in Papua New Guinea. The first regular Indian Ocean air service began from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to Perth. The Catalina flying boats travelled 5600km non stop with the flight taking 28-33 hours. Passengers were awarded a membership certificate to “The Rare and Secret Order of the Double Sunrise.”
1945 Liberator aircraft took over the Perth-Ceylon route. Passengers were awarded a membership certificate to “The Elevated Order of the Longest Hop.” The Liberators were the first aircraft to carry the flying kangaroo symbol
1947 The Australian Government became sole shareholder in the airline. Air hostesses were first employed. The Sydney-London Kangaroo Route began in December with the arrival of Lockheed Constellation aircraft. Flights on the Kangaroo Route cost £525 (about the same price as a new car). Stops were made at Darwin, Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo, Castel Benito and Rome
1949 Queensland and Northern Territory and RFDS routes were transfered to Trans Australian Airlines (TAA)
1956 Carries the Olympic flame from Athens to Darwin onboard a Super Constellation
1959 Qantas becomes the first non-American airline to take delivery of the Boeing 707 and starts the first jet service across the Pacific
1964 reserves delivery for 4 Concordes and 6 supersonic Boeing 2707 aircraft
1965 first non-stop flight from US to Australia with a commercial aircraft
1966 begins troop charter flights to Vietnam
1967 Places order for 4 Boeing 747-238B aircraft
1971 The 747-238B enters service
1974 sets a world record with most passenger on a single aicraft when the airline evacuates 674 passengers and 23 crew in a 747 after Cyclone Tracey hits Darwin
1979 Becomes the first airline in the world to introduce Business Class. 707s retired, becoming the only all 747 airline
1984 new red on white livery introduced
1985 first Qantas 767 introduced
1987 introduces Frequent Flyer program
1989 world record non-stop flight for a commercial aircraft. The flight was completed by a 747-438 on the London-Sydney route. The flight took 20 hours
1991 The Australian government decides to sell 100% of Australian Airlines (formerly TAA) and 49% of Qantas
1992 Qantas buys 100% of Australian Airlines. British Airways buys 25% of Qantas
1993 Australian Airlines and Qantas names merged in Qantas The Australian Airline
1994 Launches the I Still Call Australia Home campaign
1995 First public share offer launched
1998 becomes founding member of the OneWorld alliance
1999 first airline to fly direct Melbourne-LA
2001 Qantas’ four regional airlines operate under the QantasLink brand. Buys Impulse Airlines and merges it into the QantasLink brand. Creates new leisure airline Australian Airlines. Orders 12 A380s
2002 First delivery of passenger 747-400ER. First delivery of A330-200
2003 first airline to introduce cabin mood lighting
2004 Jetstar begins operations with Qantas owning a 44.5% stake in Jetstar
2006 First airline to carry out a landing with the satellite based Global Landing System with a 737-800
2008 First delivery of A380
2011 The entire airline is briefly grounded due to industrial action
2016 new livery introduced. Wi-fi on domestic routes introduced
2017 first 787-9 delivered
2018 first non-stop Australia-UK flights commences with a 787-9 on the Perth-London route