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  • Home > Australia Airlines > Qantas


    Content: Qantas - Qantas Ticket - Qantas Check In - Qantas Flights - Qantas Booking - Qantas Route Map - Qantas Timetable - Qantas Offices - About Qantas - Qantas Flight Status - Baggage Allowance - Fares - Prices - Address - Phone Number - Careers - Passenger Information



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    About Qantas:

    Qantas Logo 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). Qantas is headquartered in the Qantas Centre in the Mascot suburb of the City of Botany Bay, Sydney, New South Wales.

    In 2009, Qantas was voted the sixth best airline in the world by research consultancy firm Skytrax, a successive drop from 2008 (third), 2007 (fifth), 2006 (second), and 2005 (second).

    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 made the inaugural flight of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, departing from Cloncurry.

    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 on 10 July 1943, with flights between Swan River, Perth and Koggala lake in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). This linked up with the BOAC service to London, maintaining the vital communications link with England. The 5,652 km 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 Rare and Secret Order of the Double Sunrise as the sun rose twice during the flight.

    In 1944 the Catalinas were augmented by conventional B-24 Liberators, flying from Ratmalana via RAF Minneriya for refueling and then across the ocean to Learmonth. Later, Avro Lancastrians were flown on the route. They flew from Sydney to Gawler, Adelaide for refuelling than to Learmonth for the overnight stage to Ratmalana, where the plane refuelled for the flight to Karachi, where BOAC crews took over for the trip to UK. The lengthening of the runway at Ratmalana enabled the diversion to Minneria to be eliminated, and soon Ratmalana was replaced by RAF Negombo. The service was renamed the Kangaroo Service and the passenger award became The Order of the Longest Hop. It was on this route that the Kangaroo logo was first used. After the war, the return trip could also go Colombo - Cocos Islands - Perth - Sydney. These flights continued until 5 April 1946.

    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 Pacific routes. 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.

    In 1975 Qantas was headquartered in the Qantas House in the City of Sydney.

    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 18,001 km 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 September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States � 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, 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' main international hubs are Sydney Airport and Melbourne Airport. However, Qantas operates a significant number of international flights into and out of Singapore Changi, Brisbane Airport, Los Angeles International and London Heathrow airports. Its domestic hubs are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide airports, but the company also has a strong presence in 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 Sunstate Airlines and Eastern Australia Airlines), and Qantas Freight (which itself wholly owns 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. Via its freight subsidiary Qantas Freight, 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 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 supplements 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 30, will be retired by the airline in the coming years. The last three 747-300s were retired at the end of 2008 and the 747-400 series will be phased out beginning in 2013, 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 take over some routes.

    On 1 July 2008 Qantas became a 58% shareholder in the Jetset Travelworld Group, by corporatising its leisure and corporate travel divisions; Qantas Holidays and Qantas Business Travel (QBT), and selling them to Jetset Travelworld Group. This deal created a vertically integrated travel company with retail, wholesale and corporate sales arms.

    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 A380s. The aircraft arrived on Australian soil on the morning of 21 September, when it touched down at Sydney Airport.Qantas' first route for the A380 was Melbourne to Los Angeles beginning on 20 October 2008, then from Sydney to Los Angeles. The second A380, which was delivered in December 2008, increased the service frequency on the same routes. Subsequent aircraft to be delivered will further expand services, initially on the Kangaroo Route.

    On 2 December 2008, British Airways confirmed that talks were underway regarding a possible merger between the two companies. They would merge as a dual-listed company with shares listed both on the London Stock Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange. However, on 18 December 2008, the two companies called off their merger discussions over ownership issues in the aftermath of a merger. If the merger between Qantas and British Airways and the previously announced merger between British Airways and Iberia Airlines had both occurred, it would have created the largest airline company in the world.

    On 29 December 2008, Qantas flew its last scheduled Boeing 747-300 service, operating from Melbourne to Los Angeles via Auckland. The final 747-300 flight was on 20 January 2009 when the last of the four 747-300s was ferried to the United States for storage, bringing to a close over 24 years and 524,000 flying hours of operations. The final 747-300 flight was also the last time a Qantas aircraft flew with a flight engineer. (Source: Wikipedia - 2009)

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