Definitions

Qantas

Qantas

Qantas Airways Limited () is the national airline of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an acronym for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo", the airline is based in Sydney, with its main hub at Sydney Airport. It is Australia's largest airline and is the world's second oldest continuously operating airline (behind KLM) and the oldest in the English speaking world.

In 2008, Qantas was voted the third best airline in the world by research consultancy firm Skytrax, up from fifth-place position in 2007 but a drop from the second-place position it held in 2005 and 2006.

History

Beginnings

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 DH.9 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 DH.50 and DH.61 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 1947, 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 ordered 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-XBA in 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. This was named the Fiesta route and was from Sydney to London via Tahiti, Mexico City, and Bermuda.

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.

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 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 — 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 VH-OJA 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 in 2000, with options for twelve more. Eight of these options were exercised on 29 October 2006, bringing firm orders to twenty. Qantas is the third airline to receive A380s, (after Singapore Airlines and Emirates).

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. 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 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 will claim substantial liquidated damages from Boeing under the purchase agreement, and use those funds to offset the costs of leasing alternative aircraft. Qantas also negotiated the lease of six Airbus A330 aircraft for Jetstar International operations.

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

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.

Qantas today - 2007 to present

Qantas' main international hubs are Sydney Airport and Melbourne Airport. However, Qantas operates a significant number of international flights into and out of Brisbane, Perth, Singapore Changi, Los Angeles International and London Heathrow airports. 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), QantasLink (including, Airlink, Sunstate and Eastern Australia Airlines), and Express Freighters Australia. Qantas did have a minor 4.2% stake in Air New Zealand, but this was sold on 26 June 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), 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. It was recently voted 3rd best airline in the world in the 2008 World Airline Awards (with surveys conducted by Skytrax). Although still a drop from the 2nd place position it held in 2005-6, it improved its 2007 position of 5th place. In addition to this the airline received awards for Best First Class Lounge, Best Airline Australasia, Best Economy Class Onboard catering and Best Regional Airline Australasia.

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 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.

The Boeing 747, which once constituted the entire Qantas fleet in the early 1980s, and of which Qantas operates 34, will be retired by the airline in the coming years. The 23-year-old 747-300s, which operate high capacity domestic routes between the Western Australian city of Perth, and Australia's two largest cities Sydney and Melbourne, have begun to be phased out starting 1 July 2008. The aircraft will be replaced by Airbus A330-200s.

The 747-400 series, operating the most important international routes, will be phased out beginning in 2013. The 747-400s will be replaced by the Airbus A380. Qantas is also considering the Airbus A350 or the Boeing 777-300ER to replace the 747-400s in addition to the A380; the Boeing 787 may also replace some routes.

On 4 September 2008 the first Qantas Airbus A380 was registered in Australia, in the lead-up to a handover ceremony on 19 September. During this ceremony, Qantas announced that they are considering ordering four more A380's. The aircraft arrived on Australian soil on the morning of 21 September, when it touched down at Sydney Airport. The airline will use its first A380 on the route from Melbourne Airport to Los Angeles International Airport twice a week, starting 20 October 2008, and Sydney Airport to Los Angeles once a week, starting 24 October 2008. The second A380, due to be delivered to Qantas in November 2008 will increase the service on the same routes. The third and fourth to be delivered will operate to London Heathrow on the Kangaroo Route.

Promotional activities

Qantas used a small promotional animation on its website to announce it will offer in-flight internet services on its fleet of A380s. Qantas' present long-running advertising campaign features renditions by children's choirs of Peter Allen's "I Still Call Australia Home", set to footage of Australian 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, 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 on the Airbus A380s. The fourth and fifth versions of the logo have been designed by Hans Hulsbosch and his company Hulsbosch Communications.

Destinations

Qantas flies to 81 destinations in 5 continents and have announced plans to expand to South America from 24 November 2008 with non-stop 747-400 flights from Sydney to Buenos Aires. It also has plans to launch flights to Dubai within about three years once the A380 joins the fleet.

CityFlyer

Qantas advertises all direct flights between Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney as Qantas CityFlyer (slogan Works for me).

Fleet

Qantas has an average fleet age of 9.3 years as of September 2008.

As of September 2008 the Qantas mainline fleet numbers 135 aircraft. The fleet (including Qantas-owned subsidiaries except Jetstar and QantasLink) consists of the following aircraft:

Qantas Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers
(First/Business/Premium Economy/Economy)*
Routes Notes
Airbus A330-200 5
(1 order)
235 (- /36/ - /199)
299 (- /34/ - /265)
Melbourne/Auckland- Los Angeles, Mumbai, Domestic Replacing 747-300 by September 2008
Airbus A330-300 10 297 (- /30/ - /267) Asia
Airbus A380-800 1
(19 orders)
(4 options)
(12 rights)
450 (14/72/32/332) Kangaroo Route, North America Entry into service: 20 October 2008 (Melbourne-Los Angeles). Replacing: Boeing 747-400
Boeing 737-300 5
4
128 (- /16/ - /112)
0
NZ Domestic
Australian Domestic freight
Operated by Jetconnect; replacement aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Operated by Express Freighters Australia
Boeing 737-400 24 142 (- /16/ - /126) Domestic, NZ Domestic, Oceania Replacement aircraft: Boeing 737-800
3 Operated by Jetconnect
Boeing 737-800 38
(31 orders)
168 (- /12/ - /156) Domestic, Oceania Replacing: Boeing 737-400
Boeing 747-300 4 450 (- /52/ - /398) Domestic (Sydney-Perth) and International (Melbourne-Auckland and Los Angeles) Retired progressively from July 1, 2008, replaced by A330-200
Boeing 747-400 24 353 (14/52/32/255)
351 (14/50/32/255)
343 (14/64/ - /265)
381 (14/52/ - /315)
379 (14/50/ - /315)
412 (- /56/ - /356)
Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia
Boeing 747-400ER 6 345 (14/66/ - /265)
343 (14/64/ - /265)
Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York-JFK Launch customer
Boeing 767-300ER 29 229 (- /25/ - /204)
244 (- /30/ - /214)
250 (- /30/ - /220)
251 (- /30/ - /221)
254 (- /30/ - /224)
Domestic, Oceania, Asia Replacement aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Increased presence on Sydney/Melbourne to Perth flights after retirement of 747-300
Boeing 787-9 (50 orders)
(20 options)
(30 rights)
Domestic, Oceania, Asia, Americas, Middle East Replacing: Boeing 767-300ER
* First Class and Premium Economy offered on select aircraft.

As of September 2008 Qantas and its subsidiaries operate 230 aircraft, which includes 37 aircraft by Jetstar Airways and 46 by the various QantasLink-branded airlines. The Qantas customer code for Boeing is 38. This code appears in Boeing aircraft model numbers (such as 747-438).

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 going to be named after Australian Aviation Pioneers, with the first A380 named Nancy Bird-Walton.

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

Awards

Service Award

Skytrax airline of the year - listed in the top five airlines in the world for five consecutive years
Skytrax best airline Australia - 2005, 2006
Skytrax best regional airline Australia - 2006

Entertainment

WAEA Avion awards best overall in flight entertainment - 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006
Inflight entertainment guide - 2005, 2006
WAEA Avion awards best entertainment for Inseat systems - 2006

Wine Awards

Best first and Business class wine list - 2005 cellars in the Sky Awards.
Most original first class wine list - 2007, 2008 cellars in the Sky Awards.
Best first class - 2007 Cellars in the sky awards
Best business class sparkling award - 2007 cellars in the Sky Awards
Best consistency of wines across business and first - 2007 Cellars in the Sky Awards

Qantas Frequent Flyer

The Qantas Frequent Flyer program rewards customer loyalty. Points are accrued based on distance 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 programme, 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. In August 2007 Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon confirmed it was considering significant changes to its frequent flyer program and had discussed its potential sale with Aeroplan, the company which manages Air Canada's frequent flyer program, though he stressed that Aeroplan was not buying Qantas Frequent Flyer saying there was, "certainly no discussions about them taking over the program and buying it".

In March 2008, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase suggested that the Qantas frequent flyer program could be worth A$2 billion (US$1.9 billion), representing more than a quarter of the total market value of Qantas.

On 1 July 2008, a major overhaul of the programme was announced. The two key new features of the programme are Any Seat rewards, in which members can redeem any seat on the plane, rather than just selected ones - at a price. The second new feature is Points Plus Pay, where members can use a combination of cash and points to redeem an award. Additionally, the Frequent Flyer store was also expanded to include a greater range of products and services. Announcing the revamp, Qantas confirmed it would be seeking to raise about A$1 billion in 2008 by selling up to 40% of the frequent flyer program. However, in September 2008, it stated it would defer the float, citing volatile market conditions.

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 free toiletries;
  • Bar - free bar, staffed 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.

Some 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 has several in-flight entertainment systems installed on its aircraft. The most fully-featured system is known as the "Total Entertainment System". This Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) system includes personal LCD screens in all classes, located in the seat back for economy and business class, and in the armrest for premium economy and first class. Total Entertainment System is installed on all Boeing 747-400s and variants, all Airbus A330-300s, and internationally configured Airbus A330-200s. A stripped-down version of this system is also installed on Boeing 747-300s; it does not feature AVOD, and has fewer video options.

The other entertainment system is the Mainscreen System, where drop-down video screens are the only available form of video entertainment; movies are shown on the screens for lengthier flights, or TV programmes and on shorter flights. A news telecast will usually feature at the start of the flight. Audio options are less varied than on the Total Entertainment System. The Mainscreen System is installed on all Boeing 737s, the economy and most business class sections on the Boeing 767, and domestically configured Airbus A330-200s.

The new entertainment system for Qantas is "iQ". To be featured in all classes of the Airbus A380, it will feature expanded entertainment options, new communications related features, and increased support for electronics.

The Qantas in-flight magazine is entitled "The Australian Way".

In flight internet connectivity

Boeing's cancellation of the Connexion by Boeing system 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 service classes in its fleet of A380s will have wireless internet access as well as seat-back access to email and cached web browsing when they start flying in October 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 three months on a Boeing 767 (registration: VH-OGI). During the trial, passengers will be allowed to send and receive text messages and emails, but will not be able to make or receive calls. If the trial is successful, Qantas may become the first airline to allow passengers to use mobile phones in flight, possibly including voice calls.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders initiatives

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

Qantas has also bought and donated some 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.

Airline incidents

Aircraft incidents and accidents

It is often claimed, most notably in the 1988 movie Rain Man, that Qantas has never had an aircraft crash. While it is true that the company has neither lost a jet airliner nor had any jet fatalities, it had eight fatal accidents and an aircraft shot down between 1927 and 1945, with the loss of 63 people. Half of these accidents and the shoot-down occurred during World War II, when the Qantas aircraft were operating on behalf of Allied military forces. Post-war, it lost another two aircraft with the loss of 17 lives. To this date, the last fatal accident suffered by Qantas was in 1951.

Since the end of World War II, the following incidents have occurred:

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 Force 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 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.

Sex discrimination controversy

In November 2005, it was revealed that Qantas (along with Air New Zealand) 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 to children . The policy has also been criticised for failing to take female abusers into consideration.

References

External links

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