The Australian carrier, Qantas, is the world’s eleventh largest airline in terms of revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs

Qantas is Australia’s leading domestic airline, operating an average of 565 flights a day to 50 destinations in all states and mainland territories.  Qantas operates around 370 international flights every week from Australia, offering services to 54 destinations in 32 other countries.

The Qantas Group carried more than 18.8 million passengers in 1997/98 and serves 104 destinations  in Australia, Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific.  

Qantas has a widely acknowledged history of innovation.  As early as 1958, it pioneered a round-the-world service, with two Super Constellations circumnavigating the globe in opposite directions.  In 1979 it was the first airline to introduce Business Class.  Qantas is also the only airline ever to win twice the prestigious Cumberbatch trophy - awarded by the British Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators for safety and reliability.

In February 1996, Qantas was named ‘Airline of the Year’ by the prestigious US-based aviation management publication, Air Transport World.  Qantas received the award for providing outstanding service to the public, developing innovative new markets and services, introducing new technology to the industry and performing in a consistently productive way.

These two Qantas imperatives - innovation and reliability - have helped make it one of Australia’s most successful companies.  In 1997/98, Qantas posted an operating profit before tax and abnormal items of $478 million, an increase of 13.6 percent on the prior year and a profit after tax of 305 million - up 20.7 percent on the previous year.

In 1998 Qantas was identified as the “most admired company” in Australia in an independent study of consumer attitudes towards major corporations. In 1999 Qantas was named the company with the best corporate image for the 10th consecutive year in a poll conducted by Australia’s National Business Bulletin.  

Qantas is the world’s second oldest airline, and the oldest in the English-speaking world. It was founded in the Queensland outback in 1920 as the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (Q.A.N.T.A.S.) Limited by pioneer aviators Hudson Fysh, Paul McGinness and Fergus McMaster.

The company began its operations with one aircraft providing joyrides and air taxi work. Regular scheduled mail and passenger services commenced in November 1922. In 1931, after expanding its reach in Queensland and the Northern Territory, Q.A.N.T.A.S. made its first link with Britain’s Imperial Airways and three years later the two companies formed Qantas Empire Airways to provide a scheduled air service between Australia and the United Kingdom.

Following World War II, Qantas expanded rapidly and in 1947 the Australian Government purchased the shares held by Imperial Airways. After taking delivery of long range pressurised Constellations, Qantas made the first Sydney-to-London flight in its own right on 1 December 1947.

In 1956 Qantas carried the Olympic flame from Athens to Darwin as part of its journey to the Melbourne Olympic Games. Three years later Qantas entered the jet age when it became the first airline outside the United States to operate the Boeing 707.

With a name change to Qantas Airways Limited in 1967, and a vastly expanded network thanks to its new jets, the airline placed an order for a new generation aircraft - the Boeing 747.

Following the 1990 deregulation of the domestic airline industry, the Government accepted a bid from Qantas for the purchase of Australian Airlines, and in 1992 decided to privatise the Qantas Group. The two airlines merged into a single brand, Qantas, in October 1993. In March 1993, British Airways paid $665 million for 25 percent of the Australian carrier. On 31 July 1995 Qantas shares were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange to complete the privatisation process.

Today Qantas is regarded as one of the world’s leading long distance airlines.  As well as operating its own services to a wide range of destinations in Australia and around the world, Qantas has increased the choices it offers customers through a number of codeshare arrangements with other airlines.

Qantas is investing more than $A350 million in new product worldwide, including lounges, terminals and the refurbishment of its international jet fleet.

The airline’s program of reinvestment in its inflight product and service comprises redesigning its inflight cuisine, dedicating 350 merit-selected Flight Attendants to the First Class cabins and reconfiguring its international aircraft with luxurious full-recline sleeper seats in First Class, electronically adjustable Dreamtime seats in Business Class and new ergonomically designed slimline seats with inbuilt lumbar support and adjustable headrests in Economy Class. The galleys, washrooms and aircraft interiors were restyled using colours and fabric designs inspired by Australia’s reefs and waterways. The first of the airline’s reconfigured Boeing 747-400 aircraft - Wunala Dreaming - was rolled out in June 1998.

The personalised service in First Class includes restaurant-style dining. Qantas is working with one of Australia’s most outstanding chefs, Neil Perry of the Rockpool Group, to re-engineer its inflight cuisine. The aim is to progress beyond the traditional approach to airline food, sourcing quality produce and ingredients from around the airline's international network, undertaking more food preparation in the air than ever before, plating meals in the galleys and serving them to passengers in a more personalised way. The new approach to inflight cuisine has been extended to Business Class and will be introduced later to Economy Class.

Qantas is also upgrading its Australian terminal facilities with work commenced on a major development of its Melbourne Domestic Terminal in November 1997.  The Sydney Domestic Terminal development continues with the new departures level including 27 walk-through check-in counters opened in January 1999.  A new retail concourse is scheduled for completion later in 1999.  The airline’s new and expanded Canberra terminal opened in August 1997.

All Qantas aircraft are maintained to the highest standards and are flown by some of the world’s most experienced pilots.  Qantas also undertakes engineering, pilot and cabin crew training for customer airlines.

While Qantas is primarily a passenger airline there are other facets to its business.  Air freight is in integral part of the airline’s core business, carrying freight since its first scheduled service in November 1922 between Charleville and Cloncurry.  In addition, Qantas Flight Catering Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary with catering centres around Australia. Qantas Holidays, named 1998 Wholesaler of the Year in Australia’s prestigious annual AFTA National Travel Awards, is the largest travel wholesaler in Australia, with more than 23 years’ experience.


In September 1998, Qantas joined British Airways, American Airlines, Canadian Airlines and Cathay Pacific in the oneworld alliance, designed to raise the standard of global air travel through a range of customer benefits.

Introduced in early 1999 the benefits include smoother transfers for passengers travelling across the networks of the five airlines; greater support, with employees of each airline equipped to assist and care for customers travelling with any of the oneworld airlines; greater value, through a range of round-the-world products; and enhanced frequent flyer benefits.

The five airline members of oneworld, with their franchise and partner airlines covered by the alliance agreements, have networks that serve more than 630 destinations in 138 countries. They operate more than 1500 aircraft and fly nearly six million miles - equivalent to 240 times around the world’s circumference - every day.

Qantas has increased opportunities for its Frequent Flyers by adding three new airlines to its Frequent Flyer program bringing to 17 the number of airlines participating. With almost two million members, the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program is the largest Australian-based airline loyalty program.

Qantas has recently introduced bookings via the Internet for travel on its domestic network. The service is similar to the Qantas Frequent Flyer Internet service for booking award travel. This service is available through the award winning Qantas Internet site at

Qantas launched a new television advertising campaign in September 1998, one of the largest advertising projects ever undertaken by the airline.  Using some of the world’s most spectacular landmarks as the backdrop, the campaign features more than 200 members of the Australian Girls Choir and the National Boys Choir.  The children, aged from eight to 15 years, were filmed singing the airline’s signature song, I Still Call Australia Home, in landmark locations in Venice, Thailand, The Argentine, the United States of America, China and Australia.

Due to the public response to the commercials, Qantas commissioned a special CD of Christmas carols featuring the choirs, in aid of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which grants wishes to seriously ill children and provides support to their families. In three weeks after its release, the CD reached ‘platinum’ status with more than 70,000 copies distributed for sale.

While Qantas is an international as well as a domestic airline it also retains a distinctive Australian style. To promote this, in 1994 the airline unveiled a Boeing 747-400, Wunala Dreaming, painted in an Aboriginal design depicting the story of journeys by spirit ancestors, in the form of kangaroos, across the Australian landscape.  Wunala was joined in November 1995 by Nalanji Dreaming, a 747-300 painted in an Aboriginal rainforest theme. The artwork on both aircraft was designed by the Australian design studio Balarinji.  

The Qantas kangaroo logo represents a proud history focused on reliability, engineering excellence and customer service. The brand elicits a strong emotional response from millions of Australians, including those who do not fly. Qantas is committed to maintaining the airline’s strong brand and focus on customer service while preserving its international reputation for technical expertise and reliability.  Qantas prides itself on developing innovative new markets and services, introducing new technology to the industry and performing in a consistently profitable way.



Qantas introduced the world’s first Business Class in 1979.  
Qantas operates a domestic and international fleet of 139 aircraft with 100 in the core jet fleet and another 39 flown by four regional subsidiary airlines serving all Australian States and mainland territories.  
The design for Wunala Dreaming was digitalised on computer and magnified 100 times. The 67 patterns were then traced onto this Boeing 747-400 aircraft, with 1324 irregular dots in 13 colours.  
Qantas Flight Catering Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary with catering centres around Australia, produced more than 20 million meals in the year to 30 June 1998 for Qantas and other airlines as well as railway and hospital clients.  
Qantas has been awarded the prestigious Cumberbatch Trophy for safety and reliability twice - in 1974 and 1990 - by the British Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.