London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 16 November 2020

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Qantas De Havilland DH50 Aircraft
Qantas De Havilland DH50 Aircraft (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 16 November 2020.

Qantas Celebrates Its Centenary

Today, 16 November 2020, marks 100 years since the formation of Qantas, Queensland And North Territory Aerial Services Ltd, by Hudson Fysh, Paul McGinness and Fergus McMaster.

The Sydney Morning Herald has republished its original article from 16 October 1920 on the formation of Qantas:

An interesting experiment in the use of aircraft in the outback regions of Australia is to be made by the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited.

This is a company which is being formed to operate in the Cloncurry, Winton, Longreach, and Charleville districts of Queensland.

It is to begin operations early next month with two three-seater machines, and a large machine carrying four passengers with a comfortable cabin will be on service by the end of the year.

“We took up civil aviation not sure where it would lead us” said Hudson Fysh. Conscious of the need to encourage interest in flying and convince passengers that it was safe, Qantas initially offered joy flights. Early achievements included being first airline to carry a maternity patient in Australia by air and carry out an aerial photo shoot.

Qantas opened its first regular service on 2 November 1922 between Charleville and Cloncurry – a 577 mile flight with an overnight stop in Longreach.

In 1924, Qantas received its first aircraft with a cabin, a De Hallivand DH50. Two years later, Qantas built its first own aircraft, a De Hallivand DH50A.

By 1928, Qantas had its own flying schools in Longreach and Brisbane. In the same year it started providing aircraft to the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service, now better known as The Royal Flying Doctor Service. It also began to operate flights between Brisbane and Toowoomba, Australia’s first daily air service.

Next year, Qantas founder Hudson Fysh flew the Brisbane – Darwin section of the first experimental mail service between Australia and England. After becoming interested in operating the Brisbane – Singapore section of the proposed Kangaroo route between Sydney and London, Hudson Fysh met with Imperial Airways and Qantas Empire Airways was formed between the two carriers. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Also from the archives of the Sydney Morning Herald you’ll find an archive report of Qantas’ first air mail flight designated for London and an obituary for former Qantas cabin crew Patricia St-Leon.

ABC News has published previously unseen film of Qantas Flying Boats operating between Australia and Singapore from the 1930s.

Over the past week, we’ve looked at Qantas’ first international flights, its first round-the-world flights by jet, the Boeing 747, and the future of its presence in the UK.

As well as that Qantas most memorable TV advertisements and the extraordinary story of how one man managed to extort AU$500,000 from the airline.

Qantas has released a short film to mark its centenary. Due to COVID-19, celebrations are understandably muted.

Also of note this week:

American Airlines has announced significant schedule reductions from London Heathrow in December. It will only operate scheduled passenger flights from London Heathrow to Dallas / Fort Worth. Flights to Chicago O’Hare, Miami and New York JFK will operate on a cargo-only basis.

Vueling appears to have no slots at present at London Heathrow to operate its previously daily service to A Coruna. It has returned slots it had leased from British Airways and the route has been removed from online timetables. This does not preclude Vueling securing slots from another airline, as it has done in the past.

Staying with route news Finnair has unsurprisingly cancelled its winter seasonal routes from London Gatwick to Ivalo and Kittilä.

The Financial Times contemplates whether Cathay Pacific can remain part of the Swire conglomerate. (Financial Times)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

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