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Qantas Airways Limited is the national airline of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an acronym for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". The airline is based in Sydney and Melbourne and is Australia's largest airline. It is the world's second oldest continuously running airline, after Dutch-based KLM, which was founded in October 1919. In 2007, Qantas was voted the fifth best airline in the world by research consultancy Skytrax, a drop from the second position it held in 2005 and 2006. Qantas has the 17th largest fleet in the world with 218 planes.


Qantas was founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited by Paul McGuiness, Hudson Fysh, Fergus McMaster and Arthur Baird. 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. Eighty-four year old outback pioneer Alexander Kennedy was the first passenger, receiving ticket number one. The airline operated air mail services subsidised by the Australian government, linking railheads in western Queensland.

Between 1926 and 1928, Qantas built seven De Havilland DH.50s and a single DH9 under licence in its Longreach hangar. In 1928 a chartered Qantas aircraft conducted the inaugural flight of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, departing from Cloncurry.

Flying boats and war (1934 to 1945)

In 1934, QANTAS Limited and Britain's Imperial Airways (the forerunner of British Airways) formed a new company, Qantas Empire Airways Limited. Each partner held 49%, with two per cent in the hands of an independent arbitrator. The new airline commenced operations in December 1934 flying between Brisbane and Darwin using old fashioned DH50 and DH61 biplanes.


QEA flew internationally from May 1935, when the service from Darwin was extended to Singapore using newer de Havilland DH-86 Commonwealth Airliners. 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. For the single year of peace that the service operated, it was profitable and 94% of services were on time. This service lasted through 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.

Flying boat services were resumed with American built PBY Catalinas in July 1943, with flights between Perth and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). This linked up with the BOAC service to London, maintaining the vital communications link with England. The 5,652km 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 "Order of the Double Sunrise" as the sun rose twice during the flight. These flights continued until July 1945.

The post-war years (1945 to 1959)

After World War II, QEA was nationalised, with the Australian Labor government led by Prime Minister Ben Chifley buying the shares of both Qantas Limited and BOAC. Nationalised airlines were normal at the time, and the Qantas board encouraged this move.

Shortly after nationalisation, QEA began their first services outside the British Empire — to Tokyo via Darwin and Manila with Avro Lancastrian aircraft. These aircraft were also deployed between Sydney and London in cooperation with BOAC, but were soon replaced by Douglas DC-4s. Services to Hong Kong began around the same time.

In 1948, the airline took delivery of Lockheed L.049 Constellations. In 1952, Qantas expanded across the Indian Ocean to Johannesburg via Perth, Cocos Islands and Mauritius, calling this the Wallaby Route. Around this time, the British Government placed great pressure on 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 was expanded across the Pacific to Vancouver via Auckland, Nadi, Honolulu and San Francisco in early 1954 when it took over the operations of British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines (BCPA). This became known as the Southern Cross Route.

In 1956, Qantas became the first non-US airline to order the Boeing 707 jet airliner. 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. The airline successfully negotiated with Boeing to have the aircraft they had originally contracted for.

In 1958, Qantas became one of the very few round-the-world airlines, operating services from Australia to London via Asia and the Middle East (Kangaroo route) and via the Southern Cross route with Super Constellations. It took delivery of new turboprop Lockheed Electra aircraft in 1959.

The jet age (1959 to 1992)

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-XBAin December 2006 for display in the Qantas Founders Outback Museum at Longreach, Queensland. The Boeing 707-138 was a shorter version of the Boeing 707 that was operated only by Qantas. The first jet service operated by Qantas 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 Atlantic — after BOAC and Pan Am, operating between London and New York as part of the service from Sydney. 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.

Air travel grew substantially in the early 1960s, so Qantas ordered the larger Boeing 707-338C series of aircraft. 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, another around-the-world route was opened, the Fiesta route. Sydney to London via Tahiti, Mexico City, and Bermuda.

In 1967, the airline placed orders for the Boeing 747. The aircraft could seat up to 350 passengers, a major improvement over the Boeing 707-138's. 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.

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 they evacuated 673 people on a single Boeing 747 flight. They also established a record embarking 327 people on Boeing 707 VH-EAH. 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 747SP 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 — the first airline in the world to do so.

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. The delivery flight of the first aircraft was a world record, flying the 18,001km from London to Sydney non-stop.

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.

Privatisation (1992 to 2006)

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 for A$665m. 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$1.45b in proceeds. The remaining shares were disposed of in 1995-96 and 1996-97. 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. By law, Qantas must be at least 51% Australian-owned, and the level of foreign ownership is constantly monitored.

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 , with Iberia and Finnair joining later that year. Oneworld markets itself at the premium travel market, offering passengers a larger network than the airlines could on their own. The airlines also work together to provide operational synergies to keep costs down.

Qantas ordered twelve Airbus A380-800, with options for twelve more in 2000. It will be the second airline (after launch customer Singapore Airlines) to receive an A380 and is expected to receive four aircraft by the end of 2008 and seven by mid-2009, after Airbus reported further delays in the delivery. Qantas exercised 8 options on A380s, increasing firm orders to 20 on 29 October 2006. All aircraft are due to be delivered between 2008 to 2015.

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

At the same time, Virgin Blue announced a major expansion in October 2001, 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. This has been successful in keeping the status quo at around 65% for Qantas group and 30% for Virgin Blue with other regional airlines accounting for the rest of the market.

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.

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, recently 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.

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.

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). The aircraft will allow Qantas to replace their 767-300 fleet, increase capacity and establish new routes. Jetstar will also operate 15 of the new aircraft on international routes.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 are scheduled to be delivered to Jetstar in August 2008, with the 787-9s coming in 2011. Although Qantas did not choose the Boeing 777-200LR, it is rumoured that Qantas is still looking into buying aircraft capable of flying London-Sydney non-stop.

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

Qantas today (2007-present)

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

Qantas wholly owns Jetstar Airways, JetConnect (which operates New Zealand domestic and some Transtasman services) and QantasLink (including, Airlink, Sunstate and Eastern Australia Airlines). Qantas did have a minor 4.2% stake in Air New Zealand, however this was sold on 26 Jun 2007 for $NZ119 million. Qantas owns 49% of the Fiji-based international carrier Air Pacific. It owns 50% of both Australian Air Express and Star Track Express (a trucking company)[39], with the other 50% of both companies owned by Australia Post. Since its privatisation in 1993, Qantas has been one of the most profitable airlines in the world.[40] It was recently voted 5th best airline in the world in the 2007 World Airline Awards (with surveys conducted by Skytrax) having fallen from 2nd in 2005-6.

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 from November 2006. On some routes such as Sydney-Honolulu, Jetstar will supplement 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.

Promotional activities

Qantas used a small promotional animation on its website to officially announce it will offer in-flight internet services on its fleet of A380s. Qantas also announced that it would trial in-flight use of mobile phones on one of its Boeing 767 aircraft. This will allow customers to send emails and text messages on board, but will not allow phone calls whilst in flight. Qantas has also launched Online Check in (OLCI) for its domestic Australian flights. Customers are now able to log on to 24 hours before their flight departs, select their seat and print a boarding pass, enabling them to bypass check-in at the terminal. It recently re-introduced hot face towels for economy class on all long haul flights.

Qantas is responsible for some of the most successful marketing campaigns in Australian history[citation needed], with many advertising campaigns featuring renditions by children's choirs of Peter Allen's "I Still Call Australia Home", set to footage of breathtaking scenery. A much earlier campaign aimed at American television audiences featured an Australian koala, who detested Qantas for bringing tourists to destroy his quiet life (his key tagline: "I hate Qantas"). Qantas is the main and shirt sponsor of the "Qantas Wallabies", the Australian national Rugby Union team.They also sponsor and have shirt rights to the Socceroos, who are Australia's national soccer team.

Company logos

The Qantas Kangaroo logo has undergone four major facelifts since its introduction in 1944.

In 1984, the logo was updated in which the Kangaroo's wings were removed, while in 2007 the logo was updated again, primarily to deal with technical issues arising from changes to the shape of airline tails and surface areas on stabilisers being designated as no paint areas. The fourth and fifth versions of the logo have been designed by Hans Hulsbosch and his company Hulsbosch Communications.

Qantas destinations

Qantas flies to 81 destinations in 5 continents and have announced plans to expand to South America by November 2008 with direct flights to Santiago. It also has plans to launch flights to Dubai within about three years once the A380 superjumbo joins the fleet.

The airline currently has on order (at December 2007) -

* 20 Airbus A380s (with 4 options)
* 65 Boeing 787s with 20 options and 30 purchase rights (15 to go to Jetstar)
* 3 Airbus A330-200s
* 31 Boeing 737-800s with 49 options
* 68 A320/A321 with 40 options and purchase rights (all to go to Jetstar and other airlines)

Qantas and its subsidiaries operate 213 aircraft, which includes 28 aircraft by Jetstar Airways and 49 by the various QantasLink brands.[49][disputed] The Qantas customer code for Boeing is 38. This code appears in Boeing aircraft model numbers such as B747-438.

Qantas have named their aircraft since 1926. Themes included Greek gods, stars, people in Australian aviation history, and Australian birds. Since 1959, the majority of Qantas aircraft have been named after Australian cities. The Airbus A380 series is probably going to be named after Australian Aviation Pioneers, beginning with Nancy Bird-Walton.

Naming of Qantas aircraft

Qantas has two aircraft painted in Australian Aboriginal art liveries: Wunala Dreaming (Boeing 747-438ER VH-OEJ), and Yananyi Dreaming (Boeing 737-838 VH-VXB). Both carry striking, colourful liveries, designed by Australian Aborigines. There was previously a third livery Nalanji Dreaming (Boeing 747-338 VH-EBU, but the aircraft was sold for spare parts in 2007.

Qantas Frequent Flyer

The Qantas Frequent Flyer program rewards customer loyalty. Points are accrued based on miles flown, with bonuses that vary by travel class, and can be earned on Oneworld airlines as well as other partners. Points can be redeemed for flights or upgrades on flights operated by Qantas, Oneworld airlines, and other partners. Other partners include credit cards, car rental companies, hotels and many others.

To join the program, passengers living in Australia or New Zealand must pay a one-off joining fee, and then become a Bronze Frequent Flyer (residents of other countries may join without a fee). All accounts remain active as long as there is points activity once every three years. Flights with Qantas and selected partner airlines earn Status Credits — and accumulation of these allows progression to Silver Status (Oneworld Ruby), Gold Status (Oneworld Sapphire) and Platinum Status (Oneworld Emerald).

Qantas has faced criticism regarding availability of seats for members redeeming points. In 2004, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission directed Qantas to provide greater disclosure to members regarding the availability of frequent flyer seats.[55] In August 2007 Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon confirmed it was considering significant changes to its frequent flyer program and had discussed its potential sale to Aeroplan, the company which manages Air Canada's frequent flyer program.

Qantas Club

Qantas Club is the official business-class airline lounge for Qantas with airport locations around Australia and the world. The Qantas Club offers membership by paid subscription (one year, two years or four years) or by achievement of Gold or Platinum frequent flyer status. Benefits of membership include lounge access, priority check-in, priority luggage handling, increased luggage allowances. The Chairman's Lounge is an invitation only lounge, offering better amenities and more benefits than the Qantas Club.

Facilities vary by lounge, but typically include:

* Business Lounge - workstations, internet access, facsimile, photocopying facilities;
* Showers - self-contained washrooms with complimentary toiletries;
* Bar - complimentary bar open with staff from early afternoon (domestic) or open 24 hours with self-service (international).

Lounges also include power points, free local-call telephones, television, and quiet areas. As of April 2007, wireless internet access is now provided free of charge.

As part of a complete product upgrade, certain international lounges were upgraded in 2007. New First and Business lounges opened in Bangkok and Los Angeles, along with completely new First Class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, designed by Marc Newson.

Lounge access

Members are permitted to enter domestic Qantas Clubs when flying on Qantas or Jetstar flights along with one guest who need not be travelling. Internationally, the guest must be travelling with the member. When flying with American Airlines, members have access to Admirals Club lounges and when flying on British Airways, members have access to the Terraces Lounge.

Platinum Frequent Flyers are able to access The Qantas Club in Australian domestic terminals at any time, regardless of whether they are flying that day.

In flight entertainment

Qantas in-flight entertainment included movies, TV programs, news, music and a magazine called The Australian Way as well as comedy and news programs on most domestic services.

In flight internet connectivity

Boeing's cancellation of the Connexion by Boeing system, which was the only broadly-deployed inflight broadband system for passengers, caused concerns that inflight internet would not be available on next-generation aircraft such as Qantas' fleet of Airbus A380s and Boeing Dreamliner 787s. However, Qantas announced in July 2007 that all classes of service in its fleet of A380s will have wireless internet access as well as seat-back access to email and web browsing when they start flying in August 2008. Certain elements will be retrofitted into existing Boeing 747-400s, too. It has not yet disclosed who the service provider is.

In-flight mobile phone trial

Qantas has become the first airline to trial using mobile phones during a flight. The trial will run for 3 months using one of Qantas' Boeing 767s. During the trial, passengers will be allowed to send and receive text messages and emails, but are still prohibited from making or receiving calls. If the trial is successful, Qantas may become the first airline to allow its passengers to use mobile phones in flight.The registration of the aircraft is VH-OGI. Qantas has not ruled out allowing passengers to make or receive calls.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders initiatives

Qantas, through its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programme, has maintained strong links with the indigenous Australian community. As of 2007, the company has run the programme for more than ten years and 1-2% of its staff are of indigenous Australian ethnicity. Qantas employs a full time Diversity Coordinator, who is responsible for the programme.

Qantas is also a supporter of Aboriginal art. In 1993, the airline bought a painting - Honey Ant and Grasshopper Dreaming - from the Central Australian desert region. As of 2007, this painting is on permanent loan to Yiribana at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1996, Qantas donated five extra bark paintings to the gallery. Qantas has also sponsored and supported Aboriginal artists in the past.

Aircraft incidents and accidents

Qantas fatal accidents

It is often claimed, most notably in the 1988 movie Rain Man, that Qantas has never had a fatal accident. This statement only relates to the fact that the company has never lost a jet airliner. Between 1927 and 1951, Qantas had eight fatal accidents with the loss of 62 people. Half of these accidents occurred during World War II, when the Qantas aircraft were operating on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force. Since 1961 Qantas has not had a fatal accident.

* On 7 April 1949, Avro Lancastrian VH-EAS swung on landing at Dubbo during a training flight, causing the gear to collapse. The aircraft was destroyed by fire.
* On 24 August 1960, Super Constellation VH-EAC crashed on take off at Mauritius en route to the Cocos Islands. Take off was aborted, the aircraft ran off the runway, and was destroyed by fire.

* On September 23, 1999, Qantas Flight 1 a 747-400 VH-OJH overran the runway in Bangkok. The accident occurred while landing at Bangkok, Thailand during a heavy thunderstorm. The aircraft ended up on a golf course. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau criticised numerous inadequacies in Qantas' operational and training processes.

* On April 21, 2000, a 747-300 VH-EBW was damaged when its landing gear collapsed while taxiing at Rome.

Sex discrimination controversy

In November 2005, it was revealed that Qantas (along with British Airways) has a policy of not seating adult male passengers next to unaccompanied children. This led to accusations that the airline considers all men to be potential paedophiles. The policy came to light following an incident in 2004 when Mark Wolsay, who was seated next to a young boy on a Qantas flight in New Zealand, was asked to change seats with a female passenger. A steward informed him that "it was the airline's policy that only women were allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children".

Cameron Murphy of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties president criticised the policy and stated that "there was no basis for the ban". He said it was wrong to assume that all adult males posed a danger for children. The policy has also been criticised for failing to take female abusers into consideration.

Extortion attempts

On 26 May 1971, Qantas received a call from a "Mr. Brown" claiming that there was a bomb planted on a Hong Kong-bound jet and that he wanted $500,000 in unmarked $20 bills. He was treated seriously when he directed police to an airport locker where a functional bomb was found. Arrangements were made to pick up the money in front of the head office of the airline in the heart of the Sydney business district. Qantas paid the money and it was collected, after which Mr. Brown called again, advising the 'bomb on the plane' story was a hoax. The initial pursuit of the perpetrator was bungled by the New South Wales Police who, despite having been advised of the matter from the time of the first call, failed to establish adequate surveillance of the pick up of the money. Directed not to use their radios (for fear of being "overheard"), the police were unable to communicate adequately. Tipped off by a still unidentified informer, the police eventually arrested an Englishman, Peter Macari, finding more than $138,000 hidden in an Annandale property. Convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail, Macari served nine years before being deported to Britain. Over $224,000 has still not been found. The 1985 telemovie "Call Me Mr. Brown" directed by Scott Hicks and produced by Terry Jennings, relates to this incident.

On 4 July 1997, a copycat extortion attempt was thwarted by police and Qantas security staff. (Credit: Wikipedia).




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