It has now been 100 years since Qantas conducted its first scheduled passenger flight. The flag carrier of Australia was born in the aftermath of World War I and has gone on to become one of the most influential airlines in the world.

Where it all began

WWI veterans Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness met while serving in Palestine in 1918. After combat ended, the pair conducted an overland airfield survey from Longreach to Darwin along the route to be used by pilots contesting for a £10,000 prize for the first flight between the United Kingdom and Australia. The competition went on to be won by aviators Ross and Keith Smith at the end of 2019.

Fysh and McGinness then linked with Fergus McMaster, who would become the chairman of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (Qantas). Founded in Queensland in 1920, the company highlights that the founding mission was always on the horizon as the innovators were pioneering a new form of transport, not just an air carrier.

As the airline puts it:

“The ‘NT’ in Qantas represented their plan to fly overseas via Darwin as the main aerial port of entry at the time. From joy-riding and charter work based at Longreach in western Queensland, a route network quickly developed. The vision for overseas expansion was achieved in 1935 with services between Brisbane and Singapore taking three and a half days using DH-86 aircraft. From 1938, Empire flying boats linked Sydney and Singapore introducing full cabin service and modern comfort.”

The pioneering flight

Two biplanes were taken on to help kick off operations, an Avro 504K and a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E. However, according to This Day In Aviation, it was an Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8, registered G-AUDE, that conducted the first passenger service.

Fysh, who would later become a Sir, piloted this inaugural flight on November 2nd, 1922. He was supported by engineer W. Arthur Baird. The route was between Longreach and Cloncurry in Queensland. Fysh initially tried to fly numerous times with another unit before taxiing back for another go with G-AUDE.

With a maximum speed of 95 mph (153 km/hr) and a service ceiling of 13,000 ft (3,960 m), it flew through the morning breeze for its first stop after leaving 35 minutes later than planned.

Qantas remembers the first passenger of the very first scheduled flight. The carrier shares:

An 84-year-old outback pioneer named Alexander Kennedy became the first Qantas passenger on a scheduled flight. He had agreed to subscribe some cash and join the provisional board provided he got ticket No.1. His flight, on 2 November 1922, was on the Longreach-Winton-McKinlay-Cloncurry section of the inaugural mail service from Charleville to Cloncurry.”

Still going strong

A century later, Qantas is still carrying Australians across the country. Moreover, it’s an international powerhouse, transporting up to over 55 million passengers per year. Plenty has changed since the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 biplane hit the skies with the carrier. We’ve seen the rise and fall of the jumbo and even the superjumbo over the decades. The company’s mainline now holds a fleet of Airbus and Boeing jets that fly to all corners of the globe. Even the Airbus A380 is back in action after being grounded. Additionally, the airline’s subsidiaries continue to connect local communities well.

The airline was rocked by the conditions of the pandemic amid long-term travel restrictions. However, it looks to carry on its legacy in this next chapter now that conditions are far better.

What are your thoughts about Qantas’ history? What do you make of the airline’s journey? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

Source: This Day In Aviation;


Napsat komentář

Vaše e-mailová adresa nebude zveřejněna.

You May Also Like

Airbus Helicopters Posts Strong Medevac Order Intake

Airbus Helicopters announced continuing strong sales into the U.S. medical market at…

The Complex Art of Aircraft Utilization

DALLAS – Aircraft are the most important and valuable assets of an…

Why Don’t Planes Use Reverse Thrust To Push Back?

When a plane departs an airport, its first movement will be to…

Quiz: 6 Questions To See How Well You Know Aircraft Systems

How’s your systems knowledge? 1) You’re performing an engine run-up before takeoff.…