Started in January, 1921 by two ex-Royal Australian Air Force
officers in Winton
The two pilots and a local grazier formed the fledgling company when they realised the need for an air service to link the remote outback towns of western Queensland. The name Qantas comes from 'Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service'.
The first aircraft of the fleet was an Avro 504K. It seated two passengers and was originally used for joy flights and airmail services. The first passenger flight occured on November 2nd, 1921 from Longreach to Cloncurry, a distance of 920 kilometres and took 2 days to complete.
During the second World War, Qantas played a part in keeping supply lines open with troops in New Guinea, airdropping supplies and using Catalina flying boats to ferry men and equipment across the Indian Ocean. After the war Qantas expanded further in both domestic and international markets with the purchase of their first pressurised long-range Lockheed Constellation in 1947, and made their first Sydney-London flight in December of that year: the flight took 4 days. This became known as the 'Kangaroo Route'.
During this time, the company split into two parts: Trans-Australia Airlines(TAA) became the domestic arm, Qantas Airways the international.
Today, Qantas has a fleet of around 145 aircraft and is ranked as one of the top airlines in the world. Characterised as an airline with a perfect safety record, they have had no offical accidents, merely 'incidents'.
And even in the uncertain airline industry following the September 11th attacks, The Flying Kangaroo is still going strong within Australia, operating roughly 450 domestic flights a day and around 540 international flights a week.