The history of Qantas Australia is the rags to riches story. From small beginnings, it is now one of the leading airlines in the world. And one of the oldest too.
The major Australian carrier emerged in the outback in 1920, as a necessity to get people, goods and mail across our dry continent which had few accessible roads.
Its first aircraft was a biplane equipped to carry two passengers - no cabin, just the open cockpit.
Later on, the new Australian airline helped operate the Flying Doctor Service set up by John Flynn in Alice Springs. The service offered medical care to people living in remote areas of the outback and emergency transport to hospitals for the sick or injured.
Do you know what the Qantas name stands for?
With its cool and hip resonance, you would almost think that a team of brilliant minds worked endless hours to come up with a sophisticated brand name. Actually it is just an acronym for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.
Qantas flew overseas for the first time in 1935, from Darwin to Singapore, delivering mail. The first international passenger flight was from Brisbane to Singapore in the same year and lasted 4 days. It must have been quite an adventure.
Back in those days flying was a luxury and the airplanes had to offer a sumptuous environment to the small number of travellers who could afford the journey. Passengers were treated with utmost luxury with stopovers at elegant hotels. Great travel experience, but not for everyone.
The experience got even better when Qantas introduced the majestic flying boats, which were seaplanes landing on water. No need to build expensive airstrips and airports.
At a time when there were very few runways able to accommodate large planes, and when those planes had to stop often for refuelling, the flying boats were the perfect solution for a long trip, such as the one from England to Australia.
During the World War II, a large part of the fleet, including the flying boats, participated in war and transported guns and refugees.
After the war, Qantas revamped its fleet and began to fly weekly to London, a trip known as the Kangaroo Route, which took about four days...(and we are whinging today about the 24 hour flight!)
The kangaroo image on the tail of the planes dates back to 1944.
Today, with air travel available for anyone and thousands of flights a week, you can see the Flying Kangaroo in major airports around the world.
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