DALLAS – Today, Qantas (QF) and Australia Post recreate the historic airmail and passenger service from 1922, one hundred years after the first customer and bag of letters flew across the Queensland outback.
To commemorate the historic event, family members of Qantas founders, top-tier frequent flyers, and guests with a connection to early Queensland airmail services will travel on board QF6661 for celebratory events with local communities that played a key role in the launch of the airline that is now the national carrier.
In November 1920, the founders of Qantas established the airline as a company and spent two years preparing for scheduled services by flying joyriders, raising funds, sourcing aircraft, and planning the first air route.
The centenary flight, which is operated by a Bombardier Q400 turboprop, follows the 882-kilometer route taken by Qantas co-founders and pilots Paul McGinness from Charleville to Longreach and Hudson Fysh from Longreach to Cloncurry in an open cockpit FK8 biplane over two days on November 2-3, 1922.
A replica mailbag will transport 106 handwritten letters from Charleville to Longreach and Cloncurry.
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Group, said the flight marked a significant milestone for the two Australian companies and a watershed moment in our country’s aviation history.
Today, the airline operates 11 dedicated Australia Post freighters and is preparing for a record Christmas period as online retail demand ramps up.
Comments from Qantas, Australia Post Officials
“This flight celebrates the entrepreneurship and innovation of our founders a century ago, that still exists in Qantas’ DNA today,” Mr. Joyce said.
“Our founding chairman Fergus McMaster prophetically described our first flight as a ‘small beginning which would develop into one of the greatest services in the world’.”
“Qantas has gone from that single biplane flight 100 years ago to the brink of a new era of aviation with our Airbus A350s on order, positioning us to fly people and parcels direct from Australia to any city in the world.
“Qantas and Australia Post have had a long and successful partnership, moving mail and freight for Australians, as we did on that first flight. The rapid growth of online shopping and the demand for air freight that comes with it is only seeing that partnership grow.”
Paul Graham, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Australia Post, highlighted the importance of the partnership in keeping Australians connected.
“One hundred years on from our first airmail flight, our partnership with Qantas continues to go from strength to strength,” Mr. Graham said. “Receiving mail and parcels from loved ones is as important to people today as it was 100 years ago. Australia Post is proud to play an essential role in delivering to communities across Australia.
“As we gear up to meet the demands of Christmas, we remain committed to keeping Australians connected, whether delivering by plane, foot, bicycle, van, or electric vehicle,” Mr. Graham concluded.
Featured image: Bombardier Q400 turboprop. Photo: Christian Winter/Airways