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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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' 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.
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.
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.
|Airbus A330-200||5 |
|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 |
|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 |
|128 (- /16/ - /112) |
|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 |
|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) |
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 787-9Increased presence on Sydney/Melbourne to Perth flights after retirement of 747-300|
|Boeing 787-9||(50 orders) |
|Domestic, Oceania, Asia, Americas, Middle East||Replacing: Boeing 767-300ER|
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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".
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.
Since the end of World War II, the following incidents have occurred:
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.