Qantas Airways Limited (/ˈkwɒntəs/ KWON-təs; ASX: QAN) is the flag carrier airline of Australia and its largest airline by fleet size, international flights and international destinations. It is the third oldest airline in the world, after KLM and Avianca having been founded in November 1920; it began international passenger flights in May 1935. The Qantas name comes from “QANTAS”, an acronym for its original name, “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services”, and it is nicknamed “The Flying Kangaroo”. Qantas is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance.
The airline is based in the Sydney suburb of Mascot with its main hub at Sydney Airport. Qantas has a 65% share of the Australian domestic market and carries 14.9% of all passengers travelling in and out of Australia. Its subsidiaries QantasLink and Jetconnect provide services within Australia and to New Zealand respectively, flying under the Qantas brand. Qantas also owns the low-cost airline Jetstar, which operates both domestic and international services, and holds stakes in a number of its sister airlines.
Qantas was founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited. The airline’s first aircraft was an Avro 504K. The airline flew internationally from May 1935, when it commenced service from Darwin, Northern Territory to Singapore. In June 1959 Qantas entered the jet age when the first Boeing 707-138 was delivered.
In 1920 Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd had its headquarters in Winton, Queensland. In 1921 the head office moved to Longreach, Queensland. In 1930 the head office moved to Brisbane. In 1957 a head office, Qantas House, opened along Hunter Street in Sydney. In the 1970s a new A$50 million headquarters, consisting of twin skyscrapers, was being built in Sydney and expected to take one city block. The first and largest tower had an expected completion time in 1973.
On 14 September 1992, Qantas acquired domestic airline, Australian Airlines, which was originally established as Trans Australia Airlines in the 1940s and renamed Australian Airlines in 1986. The airline started to be rebranded to Qantas in the following year.
Qantas Building A.Qantas’ headquarters are located at the Qantas Centre in the Mascot suburb of the City of Botany Bay, Sydney, New South Wales.
Qantas has operated a number of passenger airline subsidiaries since inception including:
Qantas Boeing 737-800 with a Boeing 717 of subsidiary QantasLink at Perth Airport
• Australia Asia Airlines—operated from 1990 to 1996 to allow Qantas to serve the Taiwanese market
• Impulse Airlines—an established airline bought by Qantas in 2001; ceased operations the same year and its assets used to establish Jetstar Airways
• Australian Airlines—an international budget airline operated from 2001 to 2006
• QantasLink—Qantas’ regional airline brand encompassing the operations of two Qantas subsidiary airlines and a contract carrier
• Jetstar Airways—currently operating as Qantas’ low-cost carrier
• Network Aviation—an established air charter carrier in Western Australia bought by Qantas in 2011; fulfils fly-in fly-out contracts with mining companies
• Jetconnect — A wholly owned Qantas subsidiary that focuses on trans-Tasman travel between New Zealand and Eastern Australia cities (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney).Established in 2002, Jetconnect operates a fleet of eight Boeing 737-800s.
Qantas operates a freight service under the name Qantas Freight and also wholly owns the logistics and air freight company Australian air Express and leases cargo aircraft from Atlas Air.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders initiatives
Qantas, through its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programme, has some links with the Aboriginal Australian community. As of 2007, the company has run the programme for more than ten years and 1–2% of its staff are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Qantas employs a full-time Diversity Coordinator, who is responsible for the programme. Qantas has also bought and donated some Aboriginal art. In 1993, the airline bought a painting — Honey Ant and Grasshopper Dreaming — from the Central Australian desert region. As of 2007, this painting is on permanent loan to Yiribana at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1996, Qantas donated five extra bark paintings to the gallery. Qantas has also sponsored and supported Aboriginal artists in the past.
A Qantas Boeing 747-400 in special F1 Australian Grand Prix Livery at Los Angeles International Airport.
An early television campaign, starting in 1969 and running for several decades, was aimed at American audiences; it featured a live koala, voiced by Howard Morris, who complained that too many tourists were coming to Australia and concluded “I hate Qantas.” The koala ads have been ranked among the greatest commercials of all time. A long-running advertising campaign features renditions by children’s choirs of Peter Allen’s “I Still Call Australia Home”, at various famous landmarks in Australia and foreign locations such as Venice. Qantas is the main sponsor of the Qantas Wallabies, the Australian national Rugby Union team. It also sponsors the Socceroos, Australia’s national association football team. Qantas is the main sponsor for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. On 26 December 2011, Qantas signed a four-year deal with Australian cricket’s governing body Cricket Australia, to be the official carrier of the Australia national cricket team.
Fundamental structural change
The Qantas Sale Act, under which the airline was privatised, limits foreign ownership of Qantas to 49 percent. Foreign airlines are subject to further restrictions under the Qantas Sale Act, which stipulates a 35-percent limit for all foreign airline shareholdings combined. In addition, a single foreign entity can hold no more than 25 percent of the airline’s shares.] This Act was amended in 2014 to repeal parts of paragraph 7.
In August 2011 the company announced that, due to financial losses and a decline in market share, major structural changes would be made. Up to 1,000 jobs would be lost in Australia, and a new Asia-based premium airline would be set up, operating under a different name. It would also launch a budget airline, called Jetstar Japan, in partnership with Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi Corporation. The change became necessary because of losses in the airline’s international operations, due to airlines such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines becoming more competitive and because of the deregulation of Australian international routes during the mid-to-late 1980s. Included in the changes were the cessation of services to London via Hong Kong and Bangkok; Qantas still operated to these cities, but with onward flights to London via its Oneworld partner British Airways under a code-share service.
The first daylight arrival of a Qantas Airbus A380 at Dubai International Airport on 1 April 2013 is greeted with a water cannon salute.
Qantas is attempting to turn around its international operations, which lost about A$200 million ($209 million) for the year ending June 2011. Therefore, on 26 March 2012, Qantas announced it would set up Jetstar Hong Kong with China Eastern Airlines Corporation, which was intended to begin flights in 2013, but became embroiled in a protracted approval porocess.
Due to high fuel prices, intense competition and industrial disputes, Qantas reported a A$245 million full-year loss to the end of June 2012, which was its first loss since Qantas was fully privatised 17 years previously, in 1995, and led to the airline cancelling its order of 35 new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, to reduce its spending. In focusing on core business, Qantas also divested itself of its 50% holding of StarTrack, Australia’s largest road freight company, in part for acquiring full interest in Australian Air Express.
Qantas and Emirates began their alliance on 31 March 2013, in which their combined carriers offered 98 flights per week to Dubai, that saw bookings up six-fold. To accommodate Muslim sensitivities, the airline banned pork from all flights bound to/from Europe, which provoked a backlash on social media. In September that year, following the announcement the carrier expected an A$250 million (US$220 million) net loss for the half-year period that ended on 31 December and the implementation of cost-cutting measures that would see the cut of 1,000 jobs within a year, S&P downgraded Qantas credit from BBB- (the lowest investment grade) to BB+,which may imply a rise in borrowing costs and a limitation in the investment potential. Moody’s applied a similar downgrading a month later.
The Qantas Group reported a loss of A$235 million (US$208 million) for the first half of FY 2014.[ Cost-cutting measures to save A$2 billion, including the loss of 5,000 jobs that will see the workforce lowered from 32,000 to 27,000 by 2017, were announced in February 2014. In May 2014 the company said it would have shed 2,200 jobs by June 2014, including those of 100 pilots. The carrier also reduced the size of its fleet by retiring aircraft and deferring deliveries; and planned to sell some of its assets. With 2,200 employees laid off by June 2014, another 1,800 job positions are expected to be cut by June 2015.
Qantas sold its lease of Terminal 3 at Sydney Airport, which was due to continue until 2019, back to Sydney Airport Corporation for $535 million. This means Sydney Airport resumes operational responsibility of the terminal, including the lucrative retail areas.
Paris-based Australian designer Martin Grant is responsible for the new Qantas airline staff uniforms that were publicly unveiled on 16 April 2013. These were to replace the previous uniforms, dubbed colloquially as “Morrisey” by staff after the designer, Peter Morrissey. Qantas ambassador and model Miranda Kerr assisted with the launch of the new outfits for which the colours of navy blue, red and fuchsia pink are combined. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce stated that the new design “speaks of Australian style on the global stage” at the launch event that involved Qantas employees modelling the uniforms. Grant consulted with Qantas staff members over the course of one year to finalise the 35 styles that were eventually created. Not all employees were happy with the new uniform, however, with one flight attendant being quoted as saying “The uniforms are really tight and they are simply not practical for the very physical job we have to do.”
Qantas flies to 20 domestic destinations and 21 international destinations in 14 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania excluding the destinations served by its subsidiaries. In the entire Qantas group it serves 65 domestic and 27 international destinations.
Qantas operates flightseeing charters to Antarctica on behalf of Croydon Travel. It first flew Antarctic flightseeing trips in 1977. They were suspended for a number of years due to the crash of Air New Zealand Flight 901 on Mount Erebus in 1979. Qantas restarted the flights in 1994. Although these flights do not touch down, they require specific polar operations and crew training due to factors like sector whiteout, which contributed to the 1979 Air New Zealand disaster.
With non-stop service between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth aboard the Airbus A380 starting on 29 September 2014, Qantas operated the world’s longest passenger flight on the world’s largest passenger aircraft. This was overtaken by Emirates Auckland-Dubai flight, which started on 1 March 2016.
Partnerships and codeshare agreements
Qantas has partnership or codeshare agreements with Oneworld members:
• British Airways
• American Airlines
• Japan Airlines
• LAN Airlines
• SriLankan Airlines
In addition to Oneworld members, Qantas also codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
• Air China
• Air Niugini
• Air Tahiti Nui
• Air Vanuatu
• Alaska Airlines
• Asiana Airlines
• Bangkok Airways
• China Airlines
• China Eastern Airlines
• China Southern Airlines
• Fiji Airways
• Jet Airways
• Kenya Airways
• Vietnam Airlines
Qantas current fleet
An Airbus A380-800 departure from Changi Airport in 2011.
A Boeing 747-400 in 2011.
An Airbus A330-200 at Melbourne Airport in 2010.
A Boeing 737-800 at Melbourne Airport in 2010.
Qantas special liveries
Boeing 737-800 Mendoowoorrji.
The second aircraft to wear the Wunala Dreaming colour scheme, a Boeing 747-400ER.
Boeing 737-800 (VH-XZP) retrojet seen at Sydney Airport (November 2014).
As of August 2015 the Qantas mainline fleet consists of the following aircraft:
As of August 2015 Qantas and its subsidiaries operate 299 aircraft, which includes 70 aircraft by Jetstar Airways, 81 by the various QantasLink-branded airlines, 8 by Jetconnect, 13 by Network Aviation and 5 by Express Freighters Australia (on behalf of Qantas Freight, which also wet leases three Atlas Air Boeing 747-400Fs).
On 22 August 2012 Qantas announced that, due to losses and to conserve capital, it had cancelled its 35-aircraft Boeing 787-9 order while keeping the 15-aircraft 787-8 order for Jetstar Airways and moving forward 50 purchase rights. On 20 August 2015 Qantas announced that it had ordered eight Boeing 787-9s for delivery from 2017.
Qantas has named its aircraft since 1926. Themes have included Greek gods, stars, people in Australian aviation history, and Australian birds. Since 1959, the majority of Qantas aircraft have been named after Australian cities. The Airbus A380 series, the flagship of the airline, is named after Australian aviation pioneers, with the first A380 named Nancy-Bird Walton.
Two Qantas Boeing 737-800s are decorated with Australian Aborigine art schemes designed by Australian Aborigine artists. The first scheme is titled Yananyi Dreaming and features a depiction of Uluru. The scheme was designed by Uluru-based artist Rene Kulitja, in collaboration with Balarinji Studio in Adelaide. It was painted on the 737 at the Boeing factory prior to its delivery in 2002.
A second 737-800 in Australian Aborigine art livery, called Mendoowoorrji, was revealed in November 2013. The design was drawn from the late West Australian Aborigine artist Paddy Bedford.
Two other Australian Aborigine art designs have been displayed on Qantas aircraft. Two Boeing 747s (a -400 and later a -400ER) were adorned in a paint scheme called Wunala Dreaming. Wunala Dreaming was the first Australian Aborigine scheme and was unveiled in 1994. The motif was an overall-red design depicting ancestral spirits in the form of kangaroos travelling in the outback The second design was called Nalanji Dreaming and was painted on one of the airline’s now-retired Boeing 747-300s in 1995. Nalanji Dreaming was a bright blue design inspired by rainforest landscape and tropical seas.
Retro Roo liveries
In November 2014 the airline revealed that the 75th Boeing 737-838 jet to be delivered would carry a ‘retro-livery’ based on the airline’s 1970s’ colour scheme design featuring the iconic ‘Flying Kangaroo’ on its tail and other aspects drawn from its 1970s’ fleet.[ The aircraft was delivered on 17 November. On 16 November 2015 the airline unveiled a second Boeing 737-838 in a different ‘retro-livery’ from 1959 to celebrate the airline’s 95th birthday.
Several Qantas aircraft have been decorated with promotional liveries, promoting telecommunications company Optus; the Disney motion picture Planes; the Australian national association football team, the Socceroos; and the Australian national rugby union team, the Wallabies. Two aircraft—an Airbus A330-200 and a Boeing 747-400—were decorated with special liveries promoting the oneworld airline alliance (of which Qantas is a member) in 2009. On 29 September 2014, nonstop Airbus A380 service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was inaugurated using an A380 decorated with a commemorative cowboy hat and bandana on the Kangaroo tail logo.
iQ entertainment system on the A330.
Qantas has several in-flight entertainment systems installed on its aircraft. Across the fleet, the in-flight experience is referred to as “On:Q”. Every Qantas mainline aircraft has some form of video audio entertainment. “iQ” is featured in all classes of the Airbus A380, as well domestic Airbus A330-200s. It will be implemented on new Boeing 737-800s, and refurbished Boeing 747s when they enter service. This audio video on demand (AVOD) experience is based on the Panasonic Avionics system and features expanded entertainment options, touch screens, new communications related features such as Wi-Fi and mobile phone functionality, as well as increased support for electronics (such as USB and iPod connectivity).
iQ entertainment system on the A330.
The “Total Entertainment System” by Rockwell Collins is featured on all Boeing 747-400, Airbus A330-300 and international-configuration Airbus A330-200 aircraft. This AVOD system includes personal LCD screens in all classes, located in the seat back for economy and business class, and in the armrest for premium economy and first class.
The Mainscreen System, where video screens are the only available form of video entertainment; movies are shown on the screens for lengthier flights, or TV programmes on shorter flights. A news telecast will usually feature at the start of the flight. Audio options are less varied than on iQ or the Total Entertainment System. The Mainscreen System is installed on all domestic configured Boeing 737-800s delivered before 2011.
Since 2014, Sky News Australia provides multiple news bulletins both in-flight and in Qantas branded lounges. Previously, the Australian Nine Network provided a news bulletin for Qantas entitled Nine’s Qantas Inflight News, which was the same broadcast as Nine’s Early Morning News, however Nine lost the contract to Sky News.
Q Streaming is an in-flight entertainment system in which entertainment is streamed to iPads. It is streamed to iPads available in all classes. A selection of movies, TV, Music, and a kids’ choice is available. The passenger has the option of being able to stop, play, pause, fast forward and rewind any of the audio, movie and video content available.
Qantas The Australian Way is the airline’s in-flight magazine. In mid-2015 the magazine ended a 14-year publishing deal with Bauer Media, switching its publisher to Medium Rare. Boeing’s cancellation of the Connexion by Boeing system caused concerns that in-flight internet would not be available on next-generation aircraft such as Qantas’ fleet of Airbus A380s. However, Qantas announced in July 2007 that all service classes in its fleet of A380s would have wireless internet access as well as seat-back access to e-mail and cached web browsing. Certain elements would also be retrofitted into existing Boeing 747-400s. The in-flight entertainment system indicates that Internet access is provided by OnAir.
In April 2007, Qantas announced a trial for use of mobile telephones with AeroMobile, during domestic services for three months on a Boeing 767. During the trial, passengers were allowed to send and receive text messages and emails, but were not able to make or receive calls.
Qantas moved from an in-house Passenger Service System known as QUBE (Qantas Universal Business Environment) to an outsourced solution provided by Amadeus in late 2000. In September 2007 Qantas announced a ten-year extension of the outsourcing agreement. In addition to using Amadeus’ Altéa platform for reservation and inventory management Qantas extended usage of the system by adopting the departure control module in February 2008.
In July 2015, Qantas signed a deal with American cable network HBO to provide over 120 hours of television programming in-flight from the network which will be updated monthly, as well as original lifestyle and entertainment programming from both Foxtel and National Geographic Channel.
Qantas first-class suite on the A380. First class is offered exclusively on Airbus A380s and some Boeing 747-400s.
Qantas first-class suite on the A380.
It offers 14 individual suites in a 1-1-1 layout. The seats rotate, facing forward for takeoff, but rotating to the side for dining and sleeping, with 83.5 in seat pitch (extending to a 212 cm fully flat bed) and a width of 74 cm (29 in). Each suite has a 43 cm (17 in) widescreen HD monitor with 1,000 AVOD programs. In addition to 110 V AC power outlets, USB ports are offered for connectivity. Passengers are also able to make use of the on-board business lounge on the upper deck. Complimentary access to either the first class or business class lounges (or affiliated lounges) is offered.
On the Boeing 747-400, there are 14 flat-bed seats, located on the main deck. The seats are slightly shorter than on the A380, due to their position near the nose of the aircraft: 200 cm (79 in) versus 212 cm (83 in).
Qantas business class suite on the A330. Business class is offered on all Qantas mainline passenger aircraft.
Qantas business class suite on the A330.
International Business Class is available on the Boeing 747, International Airbus A330-200s, the A330-300 and the Airbus A380. On the Boeing 747, seating is in a 2-3-2 configuration on the main deck and a 2–2 configuration on the upper deck. The A330 features a 2-2-2 configuration. There are two versions of what Qantas call its “Skybed”: the lie flat business class seat. Older versions of the lie-flat Skybeds feature 150 cm (60 in) of seat pitch and 55 cm (21 1⁄2 in) width, however passengers sleep at a distinct slope to the cabin floor. Later versions of the Skybed have an 200 cm (80 in) pitch, and lie fully horizontal. By the end of 2016, the business class of its entire fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft will be fitted with lie flat seats designed by Mark Newson.
747s and A330s features a 26 cm (10 in) touchscreen monitor with 400 AVOD programs. Qantas’ new international business class product is featured on the Airbus A380. It features 64 fully flat Skybed seats with 200 cm (80 in) seat pitch (converting to a 200 cm long bed). These seats are located on the upper-deck in a 2-2-2 configuration in 2 separate cabins. features include a 30 cm touchscreen monitor with 1,000 AVOD programs and an on-board lounge. The latest business class product introduced on the A330 in October 2014 features a fully flat 198 cm bed in a 1-2-1 configuration making each passenger having direct aisle access. This seat can be reclined during take off and landing while sporting the latest Panasonic eX3 system with a touchscreen. The A330 would fly to its Asian and transcontinental routes across Australia while serving smaller routes such as the East Coast triangle. The 747 would fly to its Asian and African routes and serves North and South America. The A380 would be seen on its flagship routes such as London via Dubai, Los Angeles, Dallas and a seasonal route to Hong Kong.
Complimentary access to the Qantas business class lounge (or affiliated lounges) is also offered.
Premium economy class
Premium economy class is only available on Airbus A380 and all Boeing 747-400 aircraft. It has a seat pitch of 97 cm (38 in) on the Boeing 747 & it range from 97 to 107 cm (38 to 42 in) on the Airbus A380, with a width of 50 cm (19 1⁄2 in). On the Boeing 747, it is configured in a 2-4-2 seating arrangement around the middle of the main deck, whilst it is in a 2-3-2 at the rear of the upper deck on the A380. All A380s have 35 seats.
Qantas premium economy is presented as a lighter business class product rather than most other airlines’ premium economy, which is often presented as a higher economy class, however Qantas premium economy does not offer access to premium lounges, and meals are only a slightly uprated version of economy class meals.
Economy class is available on all Qantas mainline passenger aircraft.
Qantas long-haul Economy cabin.
Seat pitch is usually 79 cm (31 in) and seat width ranges from 43 to 44 cm (17 to 17 1⁄2 in). Layouts are 3–3 on the 737, 2-4-2 on the A330 and 3-4-3 on the 747. On the A380, the layout is 3-4-3 and there are 4 self-service snack bars located in between cabins.
Qantas has smartphone application programs (“apps”) for Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms. The iOS apps are separated into two – one (named Qantas Points) for members of its Qantas Frequent Flyer programme to manage their points, while the other (named Qantas) provides mobile check-in and boarding passes to link with Passbook, live flight updates and information on airport lounges, fare sales/alerts, and the ability to book flights and hotels. An Android app was launched on 7 August 2013.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
The Qantas frequent flyer programme is aimed at rewarding customer loyalty. Points are accrued based on distance flown, with bonuses that vary by travel class. Points can also be earned on other Oneworld airlines as well as through other non-airline partners. Points can be redeemed for flights or upgrades on flights operated by Qantas, Oneworld airlines, and other partners. Other partners include credit cards, car rental companies, hotels and many others. To join the programme, passengers living in Australia or New Zealand pay a one-off joining fee, and then become a Bronze Frequent Flyer (residents of other countries may join without a fee). All accounts remain active as long as there is points activity once every eighteen months. Flights with Qantas and selected partner airlines earn Status Credits — and accumulation of these allows progression to Silver status (Oneworld Ruby), Gold status (Oneworld Sapphire), Platinum and Platinum One status (Oneworld Emerald).
Qantas has faced criticism regarding availability of seats for members redeeming points. In 2004, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission directed Qantas to provide greater disclosure to members regarding the availability of frequent flyer seats.
In March 2008, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase suggested that the Qantas frequent-flyer program could be worth A$2 billion (US$1.9 billion), representing more than a quarter of the total market value of Qantas.
On 1 July 2008 a major overhaul of the programme was announced. The two key new features of the programme were Any Seat rewards, in which members could now redeem any seat on an aircraft, rather than just selected seats — at a price. The second new feature was Points Plus Pay, which has enabled members to use a combination of cash and points to redeem an award. Additionally, the Frequent Flyer store was also expanded to include a greater range of products and services. Announcing the revamp, Qantas confirmed it would be seeking to raise about A$1 billion in 2008 by selling up to 40% of the frequent flyer program. However, in September 2008, it stated it would defer the float, citing volatile market conditions.
The Qantas Club
The Qantas Singapore Lounge.
The Qantas Club is the airline lounge for Qantas with airport locations around Australia and the world. The Qantas Club offers membership by paid subscription (one year, two years or four years) or by achievement of Gold or Platinum frequent flyer status. Benefits of membership include lounge access, priority check-in, priority luggage handling and increased luggage allowances. Additionally, Qantas operates dedicated International first class lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland and Los Angeles.
In April 2013, Qantas opened its new flagship Lounge in Singapore, The Qantas Singapore Lounge. This replaced the existing separate First and Business Class lounges as a result of the new Emirates Alliance. A similar combined lounge was also opened in Hong Kong with future plans to consolidate and modernise the Brisbane International lounges. These new lounges provide the same service currently offered by Sofitel in its flagship First lounges in Sydney and Melbourne and a dining experience featuring Neil Perry’s Spice Temple inspired dishes and signature cocktails.
Qantas International business class lounge at Sydney Airport
Qantas Club Members, Gold Frequent Flyers and Oneworld Sapphire holders are permitted to enter domestic Qantas Clubs when flying on Qantas or Jetstar flights along with one guest who need not be travelling. Platinum and Oneworld Emerald Members are permitted to bring in two guests who do not need to be travelling. Internationally, members use Qantas International Business Class lounges (or the Oneworld equivalent). Guests of the member must be travelling to gain access to international lounges. When flying with American Airlines, members have access to Admirals Club lounges and when flying on British Airways, members have access to British Airways’ Terraces and Galleries Lounges.
Platinum Frequent Flyers had previously been able to access The Qantas Club in Australian domestic terminals at any time, regardless of whether they were flying that day. Travellers holding Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status are also allowed in Qantas Club lounges worldwide.
Access to Qantas First lounges are open to passengers travelling on internationally operated Qantas or Oneworld first class flights as well as Qantas platinum and Oneworld emerald frequent flyers. Emirates first class passengers are also eligible for access to the Qantas first lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Aircraft incidents and accidents
It is often claimed, most notably in the 1988 movie Rain Man, that Qantas has never had an aircraft crash. While it is true that the company has neither lost a jet airliner nor had any jet fatalities, it had eight fatal accidents and an aircraft shot down between 1927 and 1945, with the loss of 63 people. Half of these accidents and the shoot-down occurred during World War II, when the Qantas aircraft were operating on behalf of Allied military forces. Post-war, it lost another two aircraft with the loss of 17 lives. To this date, the last fatal accident suffered by Qantas was in 1951. For this reason, Qantas has been consistently ranked as one of the world’s safest airlines.
Since the end of World War II, the following accidents and incidents have occurred:
• On 7 April 1949, Avro Lancastrian registered VH-EAS swung on landing at Dubbo, New South Wales during a training flight, causing the gear to collapse. The aircraft was destroyed by fire, but the crew evacuated safely.
• On 16 July 1951, de Havilland Australia DHA-3 Drover registered VH-EBQ crashed off the coast of New Guinea (in the Huon Gulf near the mouth of the Markham River) after the centre engine’s propeller failed. The pilot and the six passengers on board were killed. To date, this was the last fatal accident suffered by Qantas.
• On 24 August 1960, Lockheed Super Constellation registered VH-EAC crashed on take-off at Mauritius en route to the Cocos Islands, Australia. The take-off was aborted following an engine failure, the aircraft ran off the runway, and was destroyed by fire. There were no fatalities.
• On 23 September 1999, Qantas Flight 1, a Boeing 747-400 registered VH-OJH, overran the runway while landing at Bangkok, Thailand, during a heavy thunderstorm. The aircraft came to a stop on a golf course, but without fatalities. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau criticised numerous inadequacies in Qantas’ operational and training processes.
• On 25 July 2008, Qantas Flight 30, a Boeing 747-438 registered VH-OJK, suffered a ruptured fuselage and decompression as a result of an oxygen tank explosion over the South China Sea. En route from Hong Kong International Airport to Melbourne Airport, the aircraft made an emergency landing at Ninoy Aquino International Airport with no injuries.
• On 7 October 2008, Airbus A330-300 registered VH-QPA, travelling from Singapore to Perth, Western Australia as Qantas Flight 72, suffered a rapid loss of altitude in two sudden uncommanded pitch down manoeuvres causing serious injuries while 80 nautical miles (150 km) from Learmonth. The aircraft safely landed in Learmonth, with 14 people requiring transportation by air ambulance to Perth. Another 30 people also required hospital treatment, while an additional 30 people had injuries not requiring hospital treatment. Initial investigations identified an inertial reference system fault in the Number-1 Air Data Inertial Reference Unit as the likely origin of the event. On receiving false indication of a very high angle of attack, the flight control systems commanded a pitch down movement, reaching a maximum of 8.5 degrees pitch down.
• On 4 November 2010, Qantas Flight 32, an Airbus A380 registered VH-OQA, fitted with four Trent 972 engines manufactured by Rolls-Royce, suffered an uncontained turbine disc failure of its left inboard engine shortly after taking off from Singapore Changi Airport en route to Sydney. The flight returned to Singapore and landed safely, and all 440 passengers and 29 crew on board survived uninjured. Cowling parts of the failed engine fell over Batam Island, Indonesia.
On 26 May 1971 Qantas received a call from a “Mr. Brown” claiming that there was a bomb planted on a Hong Kong-bound jet and demanding $500,000 in unmarked $20 notes. He was treated seriously when he directed police to an airport locker where a functional bomb was found. Arrangements were made to pick up the money in front of the head office of the airline in the heart of the Sydney business district. Qantas paid the money and it was collected, after which Mr. Brown called again, advising the “bomb on the plane” story was a hoax. The initial pursuit of the perpetrator was bungled by the New South Wales Police Force who, despite having been advised of the matter from the time of the first call, failed to establish adequate surveillance of the pick-up of the money. Directed not to use their radios (for fear of being “overheard”), the police were unable to communicate adequately. Tipped off by a still-unidentified informer, the police arrested an Englishman, Peter Macari, finding more than $138,000 hidden in an Annandale property. Convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison, Macari served nine years before being deported to Britain. Over $224,000 has still not been found. The 1990 telemovie Call Me Mr. Brown, directed by Scott Hicks and produced by Terry Jennings, relates to this incident. On 4 July 1997 a copycat extortion attempt was thwarted by police and Qantas security staff.
Sex discrimination controversy
In November 2005 it was revealed that Qantas has a policy of not seating adult male passengers next to unaccompanied children. This led to accusations of discrimination. The policy came to light following an incident in 2004 when Mark Wolsay, who was seated next to a young boy on a Qantas flight in New Zealand, was asked to change seats with a female passenger. A steward informed him that “it was the airline’s policy that only women were allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children”. Cameron Murphy of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties president criticised the policy and stated that “there was no basis for the ban”. He said it was wrong to assume that all adult males posed a danger to children. The policy has also been criticised for failing to take female abusers into consideration.
In 2010, when British Airways was successfully sued to change its child seating policy, Qantas argued again that banning men from sitting next to unaccompanied children “reflected parents’ concerns”. In August 2012, the controversy resurfaced when a male passenger had to swap seats with a female passenger after the crew noticed he was sitting next to an unrelated girl travelling alone. The person concerned felt discriminated and humiliated before the flight guests as a paedophile. A Qantas spokesman defended the policy as consistent with that of other airlines in Australia and around the globe.
A class action lawsuit brought by Maurice Blackburn based in Melbourne, Victoria, alleging price fixing on air cargo freight was commenced in 2006. The lawsuit was settled early in 2011 with Qantas agreeing to pay in excess of $21 million to settle the case.
Qantas has pleaded guilty to participating in a cartel that fixed the price of air cargo. Qantas Airways Ltd. was fined CAD$155,000 after it admitted that its freight division fixed surcharges on cargo exported on certain routes from Canada between May 2002 and February 2006. In July 2007, Qantas pleaded guilty in the United States to price fixing and was fined a total of $61 million through the Department of Justice investigation. The executive in charge, Bruce McCaffrey was jailed for 6 months. Other Qantas executives were granted immunity after the airline agreed to co-operate with authorities. In 2008 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission fined the airline $20 million for breaches of the acts associated with protecting consumers. In November 2010 Qantas was fined 8.8 million Euros for its part in an air cargo cartel involving up to 11 other airlines. Qantas was fined NZ$6.5 million in April 2011 when it pleaded guilty in the New Zealand High Court to the cartel operation.
2011 industrial unrest and grounding of fleet
In response to ongoing industrial unrest over failed negotiations involving three unions (the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) and the Transport Workers Union of Australia (TWU), the company grounded its entire domestic and international fleet from 5 pm AEDT on 29 Oc It was reported that the grounding would have a daily financial impact of A$20 million. In the early hours of 31 October, Fair Work Australia ordered that all industrial action taken by Qantas and the involved trade unions be terminated immediately. The order was requested by the federal government amid fears that an extended period of grounding would do significant damage to the national economy, especially the tourism and mining sectors. It is estimated that the grounding affected 68,000 customers worldwide.