Ports and Relationships

Qantas around the world

Learn about Qantas ports in Australia and around the world.

The birth of Qantas was in outback Queensland and we remain as an airline that connects regional Australians to all corners of al the world:

  • Seven per cent of the Qantas workforce, or 2000 people, work outside the state capital cities in communities across Australia
  • With dedicated aircraft on key regional routes, Qantas makes an upfront capital investment of up to $30 million (the list price of a Q400 aircraft) per route
  • Through landing fees and various other charges, Qantas is a major payer of rates and charges to local councils across the country
  • Qantas sponsors, markets and promotes local tourism and business opportunities
  • Qantas is a major procurer of local goods and services in the regions, from catering to accommodation

QantasLink plays a vital role in providing air services for communities and businesses across regional Australia. QantasLink operates greater than 2,000 flights a week across 54 destinations in Australia, plus Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, and carries 4.3 million passengers per year.

A $600 million investment in 21 next generation Bombardier Q400 regional aircraft has delivered a superior product to QantasLink customers, capacity growth in core markets has enabled expansion into new ports.

During 2009/2010, QantasLink added significant capacity throughout Queensland and NSW and launched new services to Port Lincoln. It also launched the first international route, between Cairns and Port Moresby, to cater for the significant business travel demand.

The QantasLink ports and customers, are fully integrated with Qantas' global network through intrastate, interstate and international connections; access to the Qantas booking system and qantas.com; Frequent Flyer and lounge benefits; and affiliation with the oneworld alliance.

QantasLink has invested strongly in its heavy maintenance base in Tamworth, which now services Q400 aircraft. Additionally, it is a key sponsor for a wide range of regional sporting and cultural events across Australia, in addition to supporting the Qantas Group's broader contribution to domestic tourism promotion.

QantasLink's commitment to regional Australia goes beyond air services. Some examples include:

  • In Tamworth, QantasLink's NSW maintenance base, employs 82 people, sponsors the Country Music Association of Australia and spent a total of $5.4 million in 2009/2010
  • In Mildura employs 28 people, sponsors the local Chamber of Commerce business awards and the Mildura Writers Festival, and spent $1.5 million in 2009/2010
  • In Gladstone employs 12 ground handling staff, sponsors the Gladstone Harbour Festival and contributed expenditure of $4.2 million in 2009/2010

Through QantasLink, the organisation is extremely aware of aviation's significance to these communities and others and of the importance of giving back to the families and businesses across the country.

Qantas' long ties with the United Kingdom extend back to 1931, when it carried airmail from Brisbane to Darwin as part of an experimental Australia-England run with Imperial Airways (a forerunner of BOAC and British Airways).

Qantas, together with Imperial Airways and then BOAC, provided a fundamental Australia-England air link almost without interruption during the Second World War.

In 1947, Qantas began its first regular weekly service through to London on the Kangaroo Route. The airline's presence in Germany dates from January 1953, when a Constellation L749 began a regular passenger service.

Together with its oneworld alliance and joint services partner British Airways, Qantas offers a total of 42 return services a week to the UK. In addition to travelling on Qantas flights from Australia to London, Qantas customers can travel between Australia and London via Frankfurt on British Airways codeshare flights.

In 2010, Qantas' Joint Services Agreement with BA on services between Australia and the UK was extended for a further five years. Qantas' codeshare relationship with BA on flights between London and Europe was also expanded, with six new cities added: Rome, Milan, Toulouse, Prague, Warsaw and Budapest. This means Qantas customers can now reach 29 destinations in Europe via codeshare services operated by BA.

Qantas first established itself in North America in San Francisco in 1954, taking over the operations of British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines which, in September 1946, commenced the first trans-Pacific commercial services.

The first Qantas services linking Australia and the USA were operated by 60-seat Lockheed Super Constellations flying twice weekly via Fiji, Canton Island and Honolulu. When Qantas gained the rights to extend trans-Pacific services from San Francisco to New York and then London, the airline began, in 1958, the first round-the-world passenger service.

The San Francisco-London sector proved unprofitable and was finally suspended in 1973. In July 1959, Qantas introduced the first jet service across the Pacific, operating B707 aircraft, and began flying B747s to San Francisco in January 1972. In 1995, Qantas moved its US regional headquarters to Los Angeles and discontinued flying to San Francisco. Direct flights resumed in March 2006.

Qantas became the first airline to offer non-stop services between Melbourne and Los Angeles in October 1999 and between Brisbane and Los Angeles in June 2004. In February 2006, Qantas increased services to New York via Los Angeles to five per week and from August 2007, to a daily service.

Qantas launched A380 services in October 2008 from Melbourne to Los Angeles on a twice weekly basis followed by Sydney to Los Angeles with three weekly flights; service increased to three frequencies from Melbourne and daily services from Sydney in January 2010.

Qantas has corporate offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Regional representatives also operate in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Hawaii and Seattle. Canadian representatives operate out of Toronto and Vancouver.

In 1966, Qantas commenced flights to Latin America as part of a new round-the-world route through Tahiti and Mexico to Bermuda and London. The service was suspended in 1975. Between 1988 - 1993 and 1998 - 2001, Qantas operated a codeshare arrangement with Aerolineas Argentinas on services to Buenos Aires.

In November 2008, Qantas commenced non-stop services three times a week between Sydney and Buenos Aires and also offers six return services a week from Sydney to Santiago, Chile, via Auckland, on codeshare services operated by oneworld partner LAN. Qantas has corporate offices in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo.

Qantas first began services to southern Africa in 1948 with a survey flight from Sydney via Perth, the Cocos Islands and Mauritius to Johannesburg. This was to become known as the Wallaby Route because of the 'short hops' between ports on the route. On 1 September 1952, the first scheduled passenger service left Sydney for Johannesburg on a Lockheed Constellation L-749A aircraft, arriving three days later on 4 September.

Fortnightly, services continued until 1955 when the Super Constellation L-1049 aircraft type was introduced. In 1957, Qantas and South African Airways (SAA) announced a partnership to operate services between the two countries on alternate weeks. SAA would operate DC7B aircraft between Johannesburg and Perth while Qantas would operate Super Constellations from Perth to Sydney and return. New speed records were set when Electra aircraft were introduced on the route, with aircraft VH-ECD recording a commercial flight time in June 1963 of 54 hours against the Super Constellation time of 61 hours 40 minutes. Qantas suspended services between Australia and southern Africa between 1977 and 1982.

In November 1982, weekly services began from Australia to Zimbabwe (Harare). Passengers initially flew Sydney-Harare via Perth and then to Johannesburg, with direct Johannesburg services later added. Qantas ceased services to Harare in October 2000.

Today Qantas operates a daily four-class B747-400 service between Sydney and Johannesburg. Typical flight time is 14 hours and 10 minutes, one of the longest non-stop sectors in the Qantas network. The return leg is generally assisted by a favourable tailwind with a typical flying time of only 11 hours and 45 minutes.

Qantas also codeshares on seven services operated by South African Airways each week between Perth and Johannesburg. Qantas operations are also supported by a regional office located in Johannesburg.