Qantas commemorates its 100th birthday with a special centenary flight, blowing out larger-than-life candles on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
When a Qantas 787 aircraft flew over the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 16 November 2020, it was more than just an aerial stunt. It was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the iconic Australian airline founded in the outback on 16 November 1920.
The world-famous bridge rose to the occasion as a larger-than-life birthday cake, with more than 1300 LED tubes and projections of two 65-metre-high candles. As the aircraft flew low at 1500 feet, the lights went out – a symbolic blowing out of the candles to mark the milestone.
“Qantas aircraft have been flying over Sydney Harbour Bridge for decades, so this was a spectacular way to mark our anniversary,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas Group chief executive officer. “It’s been a tough year for tourism but as more domestic borders open up, we’re ready to put more aircraft back in the air and bring people to see all that New South Wales has to offer.”
The 100-minute flight – which carried 200 passengers, including 100 Qantas staff – also offered front-row views of HARS Aviation Museum in Shellharbour and Rose Bay, where Qantas flying boats used to take off and land in the 1930s and ’40s. But the show-stopping moment was the Harbour Bridge, which came as a surprise not only to thousands of onlookers on the ground but to the passengers on board the special flight.
“Sydney has benefited immensely from 100 successful years of business for Qantas – from bringing visitors to the state and boosting our visitor economy to providing local jobs,” said Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney.
“What better way to mark such an important milestone for Qantas than with a celebration in the city it has chosen as its headquarters for the last 82 years, involving another much-loved Sydney icon, the Harbour Bridge?”