Qantas Airways Ltd. History
Level 9, Building A
203 Coward Street
Mascot NSW 2020
Telephone: (61) 2 9691 3636
Toll Free: 800-227-4500
Fax: 61 2 9691 3339
Incorporated: 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd.
Sales: AUD 11.35 billion (2004)
Stock Exchanges: Australian
Ticker Symbol: QAN
NAIC: 481111 Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation; 481112 Scheduled Freight Air Transportation; 488119 Other Airport Operations; 48819 Other Support Activities for Air Transportation
Going forward, Qantas will strive for greater efficiency, continue to invest in new aircraft and product, grow operations and job opportunities and protect its reputation as Australia's national carrier and one of the world's leading airlines. We aim to compete effectively across all sectors of the aviation marketplace and in a growing number of markets.
- Qantas is formed.
- "Kangaroo Route" to London via Singapore is initiated.
- A koala becomes the airline's famous TV mascot.
- Qantas flies the world's first all-Boeing 747 fleet.
- New aircraft types are acquired in fleet modernization program.
- The first nonstop Sydney-London route is flown.
- Qantas takes over Australian Airlines.
- British Airways buys a 25 percent shareholding in Qantas.
- Qantas shares floated publicly.
- Qantas dominates its domestic market as competitors struggle.
- Qantas begins investing in several regional airlines.
Qantas Airways Ltd. is Australia's number one domestic airline and a leader in the Asia-Pacific region. It is one of the ten largest airlines in the world and is considered to be the second oldest (after KLM of the Netherlands). Qantas connects Australia to 81 destinations in 40 other countries worldwide and operates extensive domestic services in both Australia and New Zealand. In addition to its flagship Qantas line, the company also operates several regional airlines in Australia and is a partner in a budget start-up based in Singapore. Qantas and its regional subsidiaries carry more than 30 million passengers a year. Qantas maintains a number of alliances and code share arrangements; it is a member of the oneworld global airline alliance led by American Airlines and British Airways plc, which is Qantas's largest shareholder with an 18 percent interest.
Qantas was founded by two World War I veterans, William Hudson Fysh and Paul McGuiness, who had served with the Australian Flying Corps. In March 1919, they gained the support of a millionaire industrialist to enter a competition for a prize of AUD 20,000 offered by the Australian government for the first Australians to fly from Britain to Australia within 20 days. Unfortunately, their patron died before the arrangements for their flight had been made. They accepted a related task from the Australian Chief of General Staff to survey the air race route from Longreach in Queensland to Katherine in the Northern Territory and to lay down supplies along the route for the competitors.
After the completion of their overland survey in August 1919, Fysh and McGuiness were convinced that aircraft could play an important role in transporting passengers and freight over the sparsely populated areas of western and northern Queensland and northern Australia, and they decided to form an airline. The pair had insufficient capital to launch their new venture, but a chance meeting between McGuiness and Fergus McMaster, a prominent Queensland grazier, led to the latter's involvement in the project. McMaster, together with his fellow grazier Ainslie Templeton, agreed to provide financial backing for Fysh and McGuiness's proposed air service for western Queensland.
On November 16, 1920, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd. (Qantas) was registered in Brisbane with an initial paid-up capital of AUD 12,074. McMaster became the first chairman of the airline; he was to prove anything but a silent partner. Without his constant efforts on behalf of Qantas, it is doubtful whether the airline would have survived.
In 1921, the airline's head office was moved from Winton to Longreach, another small Queensland outback town. During its early years, the airline encountered serious problems in obtaining suitable aircraft, as most of the British-manufactured aircraft were inappropriate for the Australian outback and the country's hot climate. Eventually, in 1924, the company found an aircraft up to the challenge: the de Havilland DH50. In the early days, passengers were few in number and most of the airline's revenue came from joyriders and air taxi work.
It soon became clear that Qantas would need a government subsidy to survive. In late 1921 Qantas won the contract for a weekly subsidized mail service between Charleville and Cloncurry in Queensland, and the airline's first scheduled service was inaugurated on November 2, 1922. Later in that year, McGuiness left the company, leaving Fysh as the sole employee from what John Gunn described in The Defeat of Distance: Qantas 1919-1939 as the airline's "dreamtime days." In February 1923, Marcus Griffin, the airline's first professional manager, resigned. With McMaster's support, he was replaced by Fysh.
In 1924, the subsidized mail service was extended from Cloncurry to Camooweal, and three years later another subsidized mail service was started from Cloncurry to Normanton. The following year, the Australian Medical Service--renamed the Flying Doctor Service in 1942--was formed, and Qantas was contracted to operate medical flights on demand. On April 17, 1929, Qantas inaugurated the 710-kilometer Charleville-Brisbane service on the first direct link to the coast, bringing its total route network to nearly 2,380 kilometers. In 1930, the airline's headquarters were moved to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland.
QEA Formed in 1934
The original link with Britain's Imperial Airways took place in 1931, when Qantas assisted in carrying the first official airmail as part of an experimental Australia-Britain route. Qantas carried the airmail between Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, and Brisbane. On January 18, 1934, Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. (QEA) was formed as a 50-50 joint venture between Imperial Airways and Qantas to enable the Australian airline to participate in the new airmail service. QEA secured subsidized airmail contracts for the Brisbane-Singapore via Darwin and also Cloncurry-Normanton services. The new weekly transcontinental service began on December 10, 1934. In 1936, a second weekly service was begun between Brisbane and Singapore.
On June 10, 1938, the route between Australia and Britain was upgraded to a thrice-weekly subsidized service with the introduction of Short Brothers Empire Flying Boats, extending the route to Sydney. Imperial Airways and QEA's flying boats were flown directly across the whole route, with the British crews taking over the aircraft in Singapore. During the same year, QEA's headquarters were moved to Sydney.
During the 1930s, KLM emerged as a major competitor with its Amsterdam-Batavia (Jakarta) service. In July 1938, its partner airline, KNILM, started a service between Batavia and Sydney. QEA regarded KLM's service as superior to that of Imperial Airways, partly because of KLM's use of American aircraft. In the earliest days of air travel, British aircraft had been superior to those built in the United States, but with the development of a major commercial airline industry in the 1930s American planes gained dominance. Pan American Airways (Pan-Am) also emerged as a strong competitor to the Imperial Airways-QEA Sydney-London service with the inauguration of a United States West Coast-Honolulu-Auckland service in 1940 after an abortive start in 1938.
World War II Efforts
After the outbreak of World War II, the Sydney-London route over which the flying boats operated became a vital line of communication. QEA continued to fly to Singapore. After the occupation of Singapore by Japan, however, all QEA aircraft eventually were recalled to Broome in Western Australia as Japanese forces advanced ever closer to Australia. QEA continued a token domestic service, but it ceased to be an overseas commercial passenger airline until the end of the war. More than half of the QEA fleet was commissioned for war service by the Australian government. Later in the war, QEA crews served alongside the Royal Australian Air Force in the battle zones of New Guinea.
In 1943, an agreement was signed between QEA, the British Air Ministry, and British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC--formerly Imperial Airways) to reestablish an air link between Britain and Australia. Using Catalina flying boats--obtained from the United States and leased from the Australian government--regular flights were carried out between Perth, the capital of Western Australia, and Ceylon. The single ocean route of 5,600 kilometers was the longest ever undertaken. Between July 10, 1943, and July 18, 1945, 271 flights were completed.
Postwar Rebuilding and Expansion
Having survived World War II, QEA was left with virtually no aircraft. Hence, it immediately began the task of rebuilding and modernizing its fleet. Against bitter opposition from the British government, BOAC, and their friends in Australia, QEA refused to consider seriously the purchase of what it regarded, correctly as it later transpired, as inferior and unairworthy British aircraft not even off the drawing board. Instead, in October 1946 an order worth AUD 5.5 million was placed with Lockheed for four Constellation aircraft. The DC3 aircraft also was introduced by QEA for use on the Australia-New Guinea and on internal New Guinea and Queensland routes.
QEA had been the national overseas airline of Australia since 1934. The nationalization of Imperial Airways in 1940 by the British government, however, had led to pressure in Australia for the nationalization of QEA. In 1947, the Australian ALP government purchased BOAC's 50 percent share of QEA and later in the year also purchased Qantas's 50 percent share as well. In October, McMaster retired as the result of persistent ill health, and Fysh became chairman of the newly nationalized QEA in addition to his role as managing director.
The first L749 Constellation arrived in October 1947, and in December QEA began its first regular weekly service right through to London via Singapore on the famous "Kangaroo Route." The Douglas DC4 Skymaster was introduced to the fleet in June 1949 on the new Hong Kong service. In 1949, Qantas handed over its services in Queensland and the Northern Territory and the Flying Doctor Service to Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA). TAA had been formed in December 1945 as a state-owned domestic airline. It was government policy that TAA should operate only domestic routes and that Qantas should confine itself to overseas routes. In 1950, a commercial service to Japan was inaugurated, followed in 1952 by a fortnightly service to Johannesburg, South Africa. In October 1953, QEA received permission to operate its first scheduled service to North America with the transfer of this service from the previous operator, British Commonwealth Pacific Airways (BCPA). QEA eventually took over BCPA.
In 1954, QEA began taking delivery of Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft and was able to inaugurate its new twice weekly transpacific service to North America on May 15. One service flew on to San Francisco, and the other to Vancouver. During 1957, Qantas moved to new headquarters in Sydney. The following year, QEA inaugurated its first round-the-world service with the establishment of the "Southern Cross Route" via San Francisco and New York. An agreement had been signed in 1957 for QEA to operate between Britain and Australia via the United States. In mid-1958, despite Qantas's weak financial position, the government decided that both its internal operations in New Guinea and Sydney were domestic in nature. Hence, it decided that Qantas's New Guinea services would be taken over by TAA, which was done in 1960.
Entering the Jet Age in 1959
In 1959, ahead of all of its non-U.S. competitors, QEA took delivery of seven Boeing 707-138 jet aircraft. These were introduced in turn on both the Southern Cross and Kangaroo Routes during the same year. The Boeing 707 fleet was expanded rapidly and frequencies increased. By 1964, 13 707 jetliners were operating on most of the Qantas routes, and the airline had begun selling off its aging propeller-driven aircraft. By March 1966, Qantas's Boeing fleet had reached 19 jets, six of which were the larger 707-338C series, with five more on order.
In June 1966, Sir Hudson Fysh retired as chairman of Qantas because of his ill health. His retirement was soon followed by that of the man most responsible for the postwar Qantas expansion, Sir Cedric Turner, who had been general manager since 1951 and chief executive since 1955. Captain R.J. Richie, who had taken a leading role in building up the company's fleet and airline network after World War II, was appointed general manager; Sir Roland Wilson, a Qantas Board member, was appointed as the new chairman.
The same year, Qantas made the decision to standardize its fleet with the larger Boeing 338C series and to dispose of its 138B aircraft. It also considered purchasing an even larger, innovative aircraft: the Boeing 747. As a result of the high costs involved, it was decided that Qantas would hold on to its 21-strong 707 fleet to protect its immediate position and would wait for the more advanced "B" series of the 747. An initial order for four Boeing 747Bs was placed in August 1967. Although this meant that Qantas's competitors would have been operating the wide-bodied jet for nearly two years before it took delivery, the B series had features and refinements particularly suited to long-haul operations. The airline also changed its name on August 1, 1967, to Qantas Airways Limited. At the end of the 1960s Qantas came under government pressure to cut its airfares because the Australian Tourist Commission and some government ministers felt that lower fares were essential for the development of the Australian tourist industry. Qantas, which was facing rising costs and falling revenue yields, did not want to cut its fares.
In 1970, Qantas again decided to standardize its fleet with Boeing aircraft when it rejected the option of purchasing cheaper DC10s in favor of 747s. In the early 1970s, the airline was facing strong competition, particularly on the Pacific, where it had excess capacity and one of its principal rivals, Pan-Am, was already using 747s. Qantas was forced to eliminate some of its air crew. Qantas also experienced problems with the United States Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), which banned its 747 operations even though Pan-Am used 747s on its flights to Australia. As a result, Qantas introduced its 747s on routes to Singapore and London instead of on transpacific services to the West Coast of the United States. The Australian government was forced to allow more American airline services between the United States and Australia. In return, the CAB allowed Qantas to begin 747 services to the United States in January 1972.
Low Fare Policy Debuts in the Early 1970s
In the early 1970s, Qantas formed a charter subsidiary, Qantair Ltd., with the strong support of the Australian government and with the intention of recovering the traffic it had lost to charter services on the Europe-Far East part of the journey to Australia. At the same time, Qantas decided to embark upon a low fares initiative in late 1971. On April 1, 1972, subject to British government approval, it cut the one-way fare between London and Sydney from £276 to £169. Single fares between Australia and four other European cities were cut similarly. The British government deferred approval for the new fare, but Qantas sold unapproved tickets in the face of bitter opposition to the new low fare from its rivals. In late May, Britain approved the new fare. Britain's liberal line earned it a good deal of anger from other countries and non-British airlines. Qantas offered travelers charter-level fares while still retaining the benefits of scheduled services. As a result, the airline's passenger traffic and revenue grew dramatically, despite the huge increase in the price of aviation fuel.
In August 1972, the Australian government authorized Qantas to go ahead with the construction of the International Centre, the new headquarters located in downtown Sydney. In December, the ALP replaced the Liberals as Australia's governing party. The new government confirmed its predecessor's decision that Qantas would replace the two domestic airlines Ansett and TAA on the highly profitable route between Port Morseby and Australia after Papua New Guinea (PNG) became independent on December 1, 1973. Qantas had been forced to surrender this route to TAA in 1960.
After the introduction of its low fare policy in 1972, Qantas embarked upon a major rationalization of its route network. Margins were extremely tight and the airline could not afford to spread its operations over wide areas of the world for reasons of prestige alone. Hence Qantas decided to discontinue its "Southern Cross Route" to London as it had done earlier in the case of operations between Hong Kong and London.
During the late 1970s, Qantas readopted its policy of offering bargain fares between Britain and Australia, beginning with fare cuts of up to £79 in 1977. Further fare cuts of up to one-third were made in February 1979 as a means of meeting the potential threat of cheap advance booking charter fares proposed by Laker Airways of Britain. Qantas's policy was opposed by members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Singapore especially opposed it because the policy excluded stopovers in their countries, cutting tourism and airline profits. At a meeting in Kuala Lumpur in May 1979, however, Australia succeeded in forcing ASEAN to accept its new policy.
With the sale of its last Boeing 707 in 1979, Qantas became the world's first airline to operate a fleet composed entirely of Boeing 747s. The final roundtrip 707 flight operated between Sydney and Auckland at the end of March. Over the next few years, Qantas took delivery of several 747 variations. In 1980, the chairman since 1975, Sir Lenox Hewitt, retired. He was replaced by Jim Leslie, who was initially only a part-time chairman as well as continuing temporarily to be chairman and managing director of Mobil Oil Australia.
Fleet Modernized in the Early 1980s
In the early 1980s, Qantas suffered from large operating losses. After the election of the new Labor (ALP) government in 1983, one of its first actions was to increase Qantas's capital base from AUD 89.4 million to AUD 149.4 million. The airline had been denied adequate capital by the previous government and had been obliged to borrow heavily to maintain its aircraft fleet in a modern, efficient, and competitive form. The government hoped that the injection of new capital would assure the future of Qantas as a wholly owned government enterprise.
The new government approved Qantas's largest-ever aircraft order, an AUD 860 million fleet modernization program involving the purchase of three stretched upper-deck Boeing 747s and six of the Extended Range Boeing 767 twin-engine jets. The latter would help service airports such as Adelaide, which joined the Qantas network in November 1982, and Cairns, Darwin, and Townsville. The twin-engine jets also were to be used on the New Zealand routes and expanded to Asian and Pacific destinations. Qantas was to sell its six oldest 747s progressively as the new aircraft were delivered.
Qantas returned to profitability in 1984, making a record pretax profit from airline operations of AUD 58 million in the year to March 31. This was a particularly strong performance given the depressed state of world aviation at that time. Qantas was able to sustain its strong recovery throughout the mid-1980s. Leslie felt that there was now more optimism because of depressed fuel prices and cost-cutting by airlines; he felt the main opportunity in Australia lay with tourism. Although the introduction of large, long-range aircraft could affect Australia's neighbors, Leslie reasoned, tourist traffic from the Asian region itself could be increased.
In 1987, Qantas embarked upon the next stage of its fleet modernization program with an order for four fuel-efficient Boeing 747-400s, which the company hoped would keep it competitive with British Airways (the successor to BOAC) and Singapore Airlines on its Britain-Australia and transpacific routes. The record profits made in 1986-87 of AUD 63.4 million showed that the airline had become one of Australia's top export earners.
In 1988, the governments of Australia and New Zealand decided to merge and partially privatize their state-owned airlines, Qantas, Australian Airlines (formerly TAA), and Air New Zealand. This plan was abandoned after it met with strong opposition in New Zealand. The New Zealand government decided to privatize Air New Zealand in its existing form. In December, Qantas was part of a consortium led by Brierley Investments of New Zealand (BIL) that purchased Air New Zealand, defeating a consortium led by British Airways. As a result, Qantas acquired a 19.9 percent stake in the airline. The following year, it was revealed that Qantas had reached a secret financial agreement with its partners in the consortium consisting of BIL, American Airlines, and Japan Air Lines to prevent control of Air New Zealand going to British Airways. The subsequent disclosure of this agreement damaged the reputation of Qantas.
At the same time, it was revealed that AUD 5.4 billion was to be spent on aircraft by 1992 and that the company would need a capital injection of AUD 600 million by the Australian government unless shares were sold to private investors. In 1989, the Australian government proposed the complete privatization of Qantas because in order to remain competitive it needed substantial capital injections, which the government was unable to fund. This new proposal led to a bitter argument in the ALP. During the year, Qantas took delivery of the first of its ten long-haul Boeing 747-400s and flew it nonstop from London to Sydney. It was the first airline to do so and, at 17,850 kilometers, it was the longest single distance any commercial aircraft had ever flown.
In 1990, Qantas reported a loss as a result of its fleet expansion program and the five-month-long domestic pilots' dispute. These losses increased during 1990 as a result of the Persian Gulf crisis, and by early 1991 the airline was facing its worst financial situation since its foundation, including the Great Depression. It was decided to lay off 5,000 employees, sell nine Boeing 747s earlier than planned, and cut flying hours by 14 percent in the year to June 30, 1991.
In early 1990, Leslie was succeeded as chairman by Bill Dix, with John Ward continuing as chief executive, a position he attained in the late 1980s. In September 1990, the ALP had been persuaded to support the privatization of 49 percent of Qantas. The Australian government abandoned plans to float the airline in early 1991, however, and decided on a trade sale instead.
Change came swiftly and dramatically for Qantas in the mid-1990s. In June 1992, the Australian government approved Qantas's purchase of 100 percent of Australian Airlines' shares for AUD 400 million; in October 1993, the operations of Qantas and Australian Airlines were merged under a single brand: "Qantas--The Australian Airline." It was also announced in June 1992 that later that year 49 percent of Qantas would be sold through a trade sale, and the remaining 51 percent would be floated publicly during the first half of 1993. Foreign interests were to be allowed to invest up to 35 percent, with the Australian government retaining a "golden share." These plans were soon altered, however, when British Airways in late 1992 stepped in with an offer that was accepted--and completed in March 1993--to buy a 25 percent stake in Qantas for AUD 665 million ($470 million). The move was part of British Airways' push to create a global airline by forming a series of alliances, and it followed previous British Airways deals for 49 percent of TAT of France, 49 percent of Deutsche BA, and 31 percent of Air Russia. British Airways soon added a 25 percent stake in American carrier USAir. Meanwhile, in March 1993 the Australian government pumped AUD 1.35 billion into Qantas to enhance the company's competitive position ahead of privatization.
For Qantas, the deal with British Airways created management turmoil, as it was reported that both Dix and Ward opposed the alliance. By mid-1993, both had departed the company, replaced by Gary Pemberton, former chief executive of Brambles Ltd., a transport and industrial services group, in the chairman's slot, and James Strong, who had previously served as chief executive of Australian Airlines, in the chief executive's chair.
The new management team immediately faced the challenge of completing the privatization, as well as improving upon the dismal results of fiscal 1993--an after-tax loss of AUD 376.8 million ($250 million) incurred in part as a result of difficulties encountered integrating the operations of Australian Airlines. A plan for a September 1993 public offering of the remaining 75 percent of Qantas still owned by the government was pushed back because a spate of privatizations were hitting the Australian market at about the same time. The long-anticipated initial public offering (IPO) finally took place in July 1995, and the company's shares were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange; the foreign ownership limit was set at 49 percent. Qantas thus celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1995 as a public company.
From 1993 through 1997, the alliance between Qantas and British Airways evolved into a comprehensive collection of code-sharing arrangements, reciprocal frequent flyer programs, reciprocal lounge access agreements, and scheduling and pricing coordination efforts. The core of this alliance--and most airline alliances--was the code-sharing, whereby a flight operated by one carrier would also be listed in computer reservation systems under another airline's code. During this period, Qantas developed or enhanced several other alliances, including ones with American Airlines, Canadian Airlines International, Air Pacific, Asiana, Japan Airlines, Emirates, and Reno Air.
In March 1997, Qantas sold its 19.9 percent stake in Air New Zealand to ANZ Securities for NZD 425 million ($295 million), using the after-tax profits of AUD 66.8 million to reduce debt. This move was made in anticipation of Air New Zealand's purchase of an equity stake in Qantas's Australian rival, Ansett Australia. Later that year, Qantas began a AUD 560 million ($430 million), three-year fleet modernization program, including the refurbishment of all of its international 747s and 767-300ERs with new seats featuring seat-back personal video screens.
By fiscal 1997, Qantas was solidly in the black, achieving net profits of AUD 252.7 million ($190.1 million) on revenues of AUD 7.83 billion ($5.89 billion). In early 1998, however, the Asian financial crisis forced the company to cut back on some of its Asian service, including destinations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The crisis threatened to derail, at least temporarily, what had been a fairly successful start to Qantas's public company era.
Nevertheless, Qantas, known for its conservative fiscal management, weathered the Asian financial crisis much better than its rivals, noted Air Transport World. Still, competition was strong. While working to cut costs, Qantas revamped its customer service and installed in-flight entertainment systems. Celebrated Aussie chef Neil Perry was brought in to develop a new menu.
The mascot in Qantas's US TV ads, a talking koala, was pulled out of an eight-year retirement in 1999. While the original, who made his debut in 1967, had grumbled about being ignored by the tourists Qantas was bringing Down Under, the newer koala was depicted as a savvy traveler himself who enjoyed the airline's improved business class amenities. The new commercials piggybacked on Australia's visibility as host country of the 2000 Summer Olympics, though Qantas was not an official sponsor.
More than 20 million passengers flew the airline in 2000. Qantas posted revenues of AUD 6.98 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000; sales rose to AUD 7.94 billion in 2000-01, while net income slipped from AUD 517 million to AUD 415 million.
Domestic Dominance after 2001
While the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States had a strong negative effect on international operations, at home the situation for Qantas was becoming very favorable. Rival Ansett Airlines collapsed in September 2001, nearly forcing its parent Air New Zealand Ltd. (ANZ) into bankruptcy as well. Qantas was allowed to buy struggling low-cost startup Impulse Airlines Pty Limited, leaving Qantas with an 80 percent share of the domestic Australian aviation market.
In 2002, Qantas proposed acquiring a large (22.5 percent) interest in ANZ and developing a strategic alliance with the Kiwi carrier. However, the suggested linkup aroused antitrust concerns from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Qantas posted a net profit of AUD 428 million ($230 million) on revenues of AUD 11.3 billion (up 11 percent) in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2002. The airline underwent a AUD 800 million share offering in part to help raise money for a AUD 2.46 billion capital improvements program, which included aircraft replacement, cabin renovations, and upgraded airport facilities.
Profit before tax reached a record AUD 964.6 million in fiscal 2003-04, up 92 percent from the previous year, though revenue slipped 0.2 percent to AUD 11.4 billion. Qantas carried more than 30 million passengers in 2003-04. Fifteen new aircraft were added to the fleet during the year, ranging from Dash 8s to Boeing 747s. Qantas was Air Transport World's "Airline of the Year" for 2004.
Qantas teamed with Australia Post to acquire Star Track Express, a 30-year-old freight carrier, in late December 2003. Five months later, Qantas also started a new budget airline, Jetstar Airways Pty Limited. It was originally focused on Eastern Australia. Geoff Dixon, Qantas CEO since March 2001, told Aviation Week the company was aiming to let domestic market share slip no lower than 65 percent in the face of new competition, including Richard Branson's Virgin Blue entrant.
Qantas was also a partner in a new low-cost regional carrier based in Singapore called Jetstar Asia. Qantas invested SGB$50 million for a 49.9 percent share in the venture, reported Aviation Week & Space Technology. According to Aviation Week, Qantas was looking for growth outside of Australia in order to maintain its place in a consolidating global aviation industry. In addition to being a code-share partner with a long list of carriers, Qantas was a member of the oneworld alliance led by American Airlines and British Airways, whose shareholding in Qantas had by then been diluted to 18.25 percent.
Principal Subsidiaries: Airlink Pty Ltd; Australian Air Express Pty Ltd. (50%); Australian Airlines Ltd.; Eastern Australia Airlines Pty Ltd.; Impulse Airlines Pty Ltd.; Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd.; Jetstar Asia (Singapore; 49.9%); Qantas Flight Catering Holdings Ltd.; Qantas Holidays Ltd.; Sunstate Airlines Pty Ltd.; Star Track Express Pty Ltd.
Principal Divisions: International Flying Businesses; Domestic Flying Businesses; Flying Services; Qantas Freight.
Principal Operating Units: Qantas International; Australian Airlines; Qantas Domestic; QantasLink; Jetstar; Engineering Technical Operations and Maintenance Services; Airports and Catering; Qantas Freight; Qantas Holidays; Qantas Defence Services.
Principal Competitors: Air New Zealand Ltd.; Virgin Blue Airlines Pty Ltd.
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- "Qantas: Airline of the Year," Air Transport World, February 1996, pp. 30+.
- Qantas Empire Airways and Q.A.N.T.A.S.: Chronological History, Sydney: Qantas Empire Airways, 1946.
- "Qantas Faces Financial Crisis," Financial Times, March 18, 1991.
- "Qantas on the Move," Interavia Aerospace World, September 1993, pp. 44-46.
- "Qantas Renews Drive for Airline Link-up," Financial Times, June 29, 1988.
- "Qantas Soars to Record Results," Financial Times, July 28, 1987.
- "Shake-up in Australia," Flight International, December 21, 1972.
- "Sir Lenox Hewitt Leaves Qantas," Flight International, July 5, 1980.
- Skapinker, Michael, "UK Stays Qantas "Flagship' Route," Financial Times, July 18, 1997, p. 23.
- Stackhouse, John, From the Dawn of Aviation: The Qantas Story, 1920-1995, Double Bay, New South Wales: Focus Pub., 1995.
- Tait, Nikki, "Qantas Finds Privatisation Route Far from Smooth," Financial Times, April 28, 1995, p. 26.
- Thomas, Ian, "Sure-Footed Kangaroo," Air Transport World, September 2002, pp. 24-28.
- ------, "The Quiet Roar," Air Transport World, September 1998, pp. 40ff.
- "Threat to Airline," Daily Telegraph, January 12, 1979.
- "USAir: BA's American Dream," Observer, July 12, 1992.
- Westlake, Michael, and Jacqueline Rees, "Birds of a Feather," Far Eastern Economic Review, July 6, 1995, pp. 69-70.
- Woolsey, James P., "Qantas Changing Course to Capture New Growth Possibilities," Air Transport World, May 1986, pp. 24+.
- ------, "Qantas Is Trying to Rise from 1989 Turmoil," Air Transport World, June 1990, pp. 32+.
Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.68. St. James Press, 2005.