Qantas: from outback QLD, NT to the world

·2-min read

Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd was registered as a business on November 16, 1920.

* Qantas' founders were WWI airmen Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness as well as grazier Fergus McMaster who had a vision for a national airline that connected Australia with the world

* They started Qantas with two biplanes, operating charter flights across outback Queensland carrying mostly mail and a few passengers

* In 1926 Qantas became the only airline in the world to build, fly and maintain its own aircraft

* In 1938 Qantas began operating flying boats to Singapore, taking off from Sydney's first international airport at Rose Bay.

* In 1942 Qantas operated record 30-hour flights over the Indian Ocean to (then) Ceylon to maintain an airlink with Britain after the fall of Singapore in WWII.

* During the war Qantas also flew wounded servicemen home from Papua New Guinea

* The airline was nationalised in 1947 - the same year it began operating flights from Australia to London.

* The Queen flew Qantas in 1954 during her Australian tour.

* It pioneered the first trans-Pacific passenger jet services - from Australia to San Francisco - in 1959.

* It created business class in the 1970s and its first class passengers on the 747s luxuriated on an upper deck

* Qantas evacuated thousands of people from Darwin in 1974 after Cyclone Tracy

* It introduced a frequent flyer program in the 1980s, as well as a record-breaking direct flight from London to Sydney.

* It merged with domestic carrier Australian Airlines in 1992, before being privatised the following year.

* The Qantas Group launched low-cost airline Jetstar in 2004

* The airline connected Australia and Europe with a non-stop flight for the first time in 2018, flying direct from Perth to London.

* It operated scientific research flights direct from London and New York to Sydney in less than 20 hours in 2019

* Qantas has operated dozens of rescue flights to bring home stranded Australians when the COVID-19 pandemic grounded international travel in 2020.