Qantas turns 100 years old

Qantas Boeing 747SP. Photo: © Qantas

Australian flag-carrier Qantas celebrated its 100th anniversary on Monday. The airline is among the oldest still operating under the same name with which it was founded.

Qantas was founded on the 16th of November in 1920 in Winton, as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. It commenced flight operations in March 1921, using an Avro 504K, which was built in Sydney. The airline’s first scheduled passenger flight was in 1922, and its first passenger was 84-year-old Alexander Kennedy.

The airline has operated some incredible aircraft over it’s 100 years, including the PBY Catalina (famously used as a maritime anti-submarine and rescue aircraft in military service for the allies during the Second World War) and the Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation.

In 1959, Qantas received the first passenger jet to be registered in Australia – a Boeing 707-138. This aircraft remained with the airline until 1967 when it was sold to Pacific Western Airlines. Today, Qantas still operates an aircraft with the same registration – an Airbus A330-200. Qantas has also operated every version of the Boeing 747 except for the -8, one of a very small handful of airlines to do so.

In 1998, the now privatised airline was a founding member of the OneWorld airline alliance. It is also considered to be the safest airline in the world, having not experienced an accident resulting in the total loss of an aircraft since it entered the jet-age.

In the airline world, the company’s age is only topped by Dutch flag-carrier KLM, the world’s oldest airline, and Colombian Avianca.