Known As: Qantas

Full Name: Qantas Airways Ltd.

Country: Australia

Call sign: Qantas

Objects in Collection

Brief History

Qantas is Australia's largest airline and one of the oldest airlines in the world. 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.

Initially the airline operated air mail services subsidised by the Australian government, linking railheads in western Queensland. Between 1926 and 1928 Qantas built several aircraft in Longreach and made the inaugural flight of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, departing from Cloncurry.

Qantas Empire Airways Limited (QEA) was formed by Qantas and Britain's Imperial Airways in 1934. They flew internationally from May 1935, when the service from Darwin was extended to Singapore. As operations expanded with flying boat service World War disrupted air travel until 1943. In 1947, QEA was nationalised, with the Australian Labor government buying the shares. In the same year the airline took delivery of Lockheed 749 Constellations and these took over the trunk route to London. In 1958, Qantas became the second round-the-world airline, flying Super Constellations westward from Australia to London through Asia and the Middle East.
In 1956, Qantas ordered the Boeing 707-138 jet airliner and the first was delivered in June 1959. 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 North Atlantic. In 1966, the airline diversified its business by opening the 450 room Wentworth Hotel in Sydney.

In 1967, the airline placed orders for the Boeing 747 and Qantas Empire Airways changed its name to Qantas Airways. 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. 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.
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 18,001 kilometres (11,185 mi) from London to Sydney non-stop. The Australian Government sold the domestic carrier Australian Airlines to Qantas in August 1992. This provided Qantas access to the Australian domestic market for the first time in its history.

Qantas was privatised in March 1993. Qantas ordered twelve Airbus A380-800s in 2000 and was soon the third airline to receive A380s, after Singapore Airlines and Emirates. The airline created a new cut-price subsidiary airline, Jetstar Airways after Virgin Blue expanded in October 2001.

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.
In 2008, the first Qantas Airbus A380 was handed over by Airbus at a ceremony on 19 September. The first route for the A380 was Melbourne to Los Angeles.

In August 2011 the company announced that due to financial losses and a decline in market share, major structural changes would be made. Up to 1,000 jobs will be lost in Australia and a new Asia-based premium airline will be set up operating under a different name. It will also launch a budget airline, called Jetstar Japan, in partnership with Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi Corporation.Included in the changes are the cessation of services to London via Hong Kong and Bangkok, for which Qantas is no longer taking reservations

As of September 2011 Qantas and its subsidiaries operate 285 aircraft, which includes 61 aircraft by Jetstar Airways, 56 by the various QantasLink-branded airlines, 10 by Jetconnect, 10 by Network Aviation, four by Express Freighters Australia and five by Qantas Freight.The Boeing customer code for Qantas is 38. This code appears in Boeing aircraft model numbers (such as 747-438).