Our history

Read about the Qantas story, from our early days in Winton and Longreach in outback Queensland to the Global airline we've become today. A few determined individuals overcame formidable obstacles to establish the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd (QANTAS).

Read about the early years of Qantas An enclosed passenger cabin on the DH50 brought luxury to Qantas services from 1924

Early years - 1918-1938

In November 1920, Australian Flying Corps veterans Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh envisaged an air service connecting Australia to the world. Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd was registered as a business on 16 November 1920.

Read about the early years of Qantas
Read about Qantas operations during World War II WW2 soldiers in front of a Qantas aircraft

Front line airline - 1939-1945

Despite having several aircraft transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force, Qantas continued to operate air services to Singapore and within Australia after war was declared in September 1939. Services to Singapore continued under wartime restrictions and passenger flights to New Zealand began in April 1940 with Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), part-owned by Qantas.

Read about Qantas operations during World War II
Read about post-war aviation Family in front of Qantas aircraft boarding

Post-war aviation - 1945-1958

Qantas faced difficult times after World War Two with an aging fleet and limited capital. In 1947, the decision was made to go into federal government ownership. A new fleet of Qantas Constellation airliners opened the Kangaroo Route flying all the way to London in December 1947. Other routes soon developed including Japan, Hong Kong and South Africa. Qantas domestic air services ceased in 1949 except to Norfolk Island and in New Guinea.

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Read about the jet age 1950s Qantas plane

Jet age - 1959-1995

The jet age began for Qantas in 1959 with the delivery of the Boeing 707 airliner.  The 1960s saw worldwide expansion of new destinations and air routes with Qantas ‘V-Jets’ opening new air pathways. During the 1960s, more migrants arrived in Australia by air than sea.

Read about the jet age
Read about the privatisation of Qantas Qantas A380 flying over Sydney Harbour

Privatisation - 1995-2019

Since privatisation, Qantas has continued to focus on safety and innovation, incorporating the best available technology. New aircraft including the Airbus A330, A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner joined the fleet. In an increasingly uncertain, competitive and challenging environment, Qantas continues to fly international passenger and freight services to every inhabited continent. Within Australia, the Qantas Group network links more towns, cities and regions than any other airline.   

Read about the privatisation of Qantas
Read about our Centenary Qantas Dreamline with Centenary livery

Centenary - 2020

From an outback airstrip to becoming one of the world’s leading airlines, Qantas celebrated 100 years as the Spirit of Australia on 16 November 2020. 

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Read about the new era of Qantas Qantas A350, A321 and A220

A new era - 2020-today

Find out about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented the most challenging period in living memory for Qantas and the airline industry.

Looking to the future, Qantas and Airbus have committed to the establishment of a sustainable aviation fuels industry in Australia.

Read about the new era of Qantas