Expanding Overseas...and at Home
By the 1990s the Qantas network reflected a growing emphasis on Asian services to take advantage of market opportunities in Japan and elsewhere in this increasingly prosperous region. A subsidiary, Australia-Asia Airlines, inaugurated services to Taipei in October 1990. The fleet was expanding rapidly with the delivery of Boeing 747-400 and 767-300 aircraft.
After changing airline policy, the Australian Government in 1992 approved a A$400 million bid by Qantas for Australian Airlines and its subsidiaries and announced that the enlarged Qantas group would be fully privatised.
The purchase of Australian Airlines was completed in September 1992. The merger of the two airlines positioned Qantas as the principal Australian airline. It brought economies of scale, more efficient use of aircraft and improved management of passenger capacity and transfers between domestic and international services. Australian had a primary fleet of 36 jet aircraft with a further 37 smaller aircraft in subsidiary regional airlines.
The two airlines had links going back to the formation of Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) (as it was then known) in 1946, when a number of executives, including the first General Manager Captain Lester Brain, were recruited from Qantas ranks. TAA took over Qantas' Queensland and Northern Territory networks along with the Flying Doctor Service in 1949 and Qantas' internal services in New Guinea in 1960.
Qantas would continue to evolve and grow. In October 2002 Qantas launched Australian Airlines as the new low cost international carrier. In October 2003, Qantas announced it would launch Jetstar as a new low cost domestic airline. Jetstar commenced domestic operations on 25 May 2004, followed by trans-Tasman services in December 2005.
As part of the strategy to focus on two strong and complementary brands - Qantas and Jetstar - Australian Airlines ceased operations in July 2006. In November 2006 Jetstar began international services into Asia and Hawaii. Domestic New Zealand services commenced in June 2009 and Jetstar Japan was launched in 2012.
The evolution of Qantas brands