Australian airline Qantas turns 100 years old

Qantas Airways Ltd QAN.AX turned 100 years old on Monday, making it the world’s third-oldest airline behind Dutch carrier KLM AIRF.PA and Colombia’s Avianca Holdings SA AVT_p.CN.

Here are some key moments for the Australian carrier.

Nov. 16, 1920

Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd (Qantas) was first registered as a business in Winton, Queensland with two aircraft.

1921
The airline began operating charter flights across Queensland in a biplane before introducing its first scheduled mail and passenger routes in 1922.

1938
Qantas began operating flying boats to Singapore taking off from Sydney’s first international airport on its harbour at Rose Bay.

1947
Qantas was nationalised and began operating flights from Australia all the way to London, known as the “Kangaroo route”.

1954
Queen Elizabeth flew on the airline during her Australian tour.

1959
The airline operated its first-ever trans-Pacific jet services from Australia to San Francisco on a Boeing Co BA.N 707.

1974
Qantas evacuated thousands of people from Darwin in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy.

1979
Qantas became the world’s only airline with a fleet of all Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

1987
The airline launched its first frequent flyer programme.

1993
The government privatised the then all-international Qantas, which was merged with domestic carrier Australian Airlines.

2004
Qantas launched low-cost carrier Jetstar.

2008
The airline introduced the first of 12 Airbus SE AIR.PA A380 super-jumbos to its fleet.

2011
Qantas’s management team grounded the entire airline temporarily due to an industrial dispute with unions.

2018
Qantas connected Australia and Europe with a non-stop flight for the first time, from Perth to London on a Boeing 787.

2019
The airline operated scientific research flights from Sydney non-stop to London and New York, in preparation for future routes.

2020
Qantas grounded the bulk of its fleet and stood down the majority of its staff due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.