Qantas Plans To Resume London Flights On 31 October

Qantas plans to resume flights between London Heathrow and Australia from 31 October 2021.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019
Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019 (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Qantas has delayed the planned restart of scheduled international passenger flights from London Heathrow to Australia.

The airline has postponed the start of scheduled international flights by four months to 31 October 2020.

At this time Qantas plans to restart all of its pre COVID-19 international destinations, except for New York JFK, Osaka and Santiago. However, capacity will remain significantly reduced through frequency reductions and aircraft changes. The airline had also suspended the planned launch of a number of new international routes such as Brisbane to Chicago O’Hare and San Francisco.

Timetables currently indicated that Qantas will fly from London Heathrow non-stop to Perth and to Sydney via Singapore with the first flights departing London on Monday 1 November 2021. Both of these routes will be operated with Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

All 12 of Qantas Airbus A380 aircraft have been placed into long term storage. Qantas does not expect these aircraft to return to service until after 30 June 2023.

As for the long awaited order for Airbus A350-1000 aircraft capable of flying from London to Sydney non-stop, this remains deferred.

Whilst scheduled flights have been suspended, Qantas has operated occasional flights from Australia to London on behalf of the Australian government to allow passengers to return to the UK, and these will continue in the interim.

As ever in the current climate, schedules remain subject to change. Passengers must comply with all pre-departure requirements and entry restrictions which can also change at short notice.

© Copyright London Air Travel 2021.

Qantas’ Most Memorable TV Advertisements

A look at Qantas’ most memorable television advertising from 1968 to 2020.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

For Qantas’ centenary on 16 November 2020, here is a look at some of its most memorable TV advertising over more than 50 years.

A consistent theme is Qantas unashamedly positioning itself as the national airline of Australia. Qantas has never been one for abstract concepts in advertising. Due to the country’s geography with Australians overseas being a long distance away from home, the airline also likes to emphasis its role in reuniting Australians.

“I Hate Qantas”

A grumpy koala that lived by the motto “I Hate Qantas” featured in Qantas TV adverts from 1962 to 1992.

Devised by Qantas’ US advertising agency, the live koala voiced by the late actor Howard Morris, bemoaned Qantas for bringing tourists to Australia and disturbing its solitude.

The grumpy koala was given something to smile about in 1989 when Qantas launched a non-stop service between Los Angeles and Auckland.

Qantas Los Angeles - Auckland Non-Stop, 1989
Qantas Los Angeles – Auckland Non-Stop, 1989

“The Flying Kangaroo”

Very 1980s!

“We’re Coming To Get You”

“I Still Call Australia Home”

“I Still Call Australia Home” is one of Qantas’ most famous advertising campaigns.

The latter adverts featured children’s choirs performing Peter Allen’s song at various locations around the world. This was at a time when airlines had the budgets for such extravagance.

Continue reading “Qantas’ Most Memorable TV Advertisements”

The 1971 Qantas Bomb Hoax

How Qantas was subject to one of Australia’s most audacious heists, as “Mr Brown” extorted AU$500,000 from the airline.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Boeing 707-138 "City Of Canberra"
Qantas Boeing 707-138 “City Of Canberra” (Image Credit: Qantas)

On the afternoon of 26 May 1971, staff at Qantas House in Sydney received an unexpected telephone call.

At 12:15pm local time, a man identifying himself only as “Mr Brown” advised Qantas that a barometric bomb had been placed on board one of its Boeing 707 aircraft.

The aircraft had left Sydney 45 minutes earlier and was en route to Hong Kong with 116 passengers and 12 crew members.

Mr Brown claimed the bomb would be automatically exploded by a change in air pressure as the aircraft descended from its normal cruising altitude of 30,000 feet to 20,000 feet.

To prove that he was not bluffing Mr Brown advised that a similar bomb had been placed in a locker at Sydney airport. The bomb, made of gelignite with an altimeter-triggered detonator, was located shortly afterwards.

With the second bomb there were three typewritten notes. One written to Qantas General Manager Captain R J Ritche demanded AU$500,000 in exchange for instructions on how to locate and dismantle the bomb on board the aircraft.

To test the veracity of Mr Brown’s threat, the second bomb was diffused. Its explosives were replaced with a light bulb. The diffused bomb was put on board a second Boeing 707. It climbed to 8,500 feet. When it descended back to 5,000 feet the light bulb lit up.

Qantas immediately notified the aircraft’s Captain, William Selwyn. A thorough search of the aircraft was ordered. Passengers were only told that there was a technical difficulty – though many could tell that a bomb was suspected to be on board – and the aircraft would have to circle in the air until it could land in Sydney.

The aircraft returned to the East Coast of Australia and spent three hours circling over Brisbane and a further two and a half hours circling over Sydney.

With the aircraft running out of fuel, Qantas agreed to pay the AU$500,000 ransom. After hurriedly securing funds from its bank, without time to take numbers of the bank notes, a drop off was arranged outside Qantas House. The money was placed in two suitcases and put in the back of a van.

After doing so, Qantas was told there was no bomb on board the aircraft. The bomb threat was a hoax. The aircraft then landed safely in Sydney with just 15 minutes’ fuel left. Military aircraft and navy vessels were deployed by the Australian government in case the aircraft did not land safely.

Continue reading “The 1971 Qantas Bomb Hoax”

100 Years Of Qantas In The UK: Retreat & Renewal

The relentless rise of Middle Eastern airlines prompts Qantas to reassess its presence in the UK.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft CGI Image
Qantas Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft CGI Image (Image Credit: Airbus / Qantas)

On 16 November 2020, Qantas will mark 100 years since its incorporation as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd.

In the first part of our series on Qantas in the UK, we looked at its early co-operation with Imperial Airways and BOAC. In part two we looked at how the Boeing 707 established Qantas as a round-the-world airline. Part three looked at how the Boeing 747 transformed flying to Australia.

“No British Airways ownership of our Qantas. Piss off poms.”

By the end of the 20th century Qantas remained the dominant airline carrying passengers to Australia with an around 40% share of international traffic.

This was owed, in part, to a close relationship over many decades with BA and its predecessor airlines Imperial Airways and BOAC.

BOAC Qantas Kangaroo Route 25th Anniversary, 10 December 1959
BOAC Qantas Kangaroo Route 25th Anniversary, 10 December 1959

In 1993, when BA had ambitions to be a major global airline, it beat Singapore Airlines to acquire a 25% stake in Qantas in ahead of its full privatisation in 1997.

Not everyone was enamoured with the idea. One particularly dissatisfied Australian put up a sign “No British Airways ownership of our Qantas. Piss off poms.” at Sydney airport.

BA and Qantas formed a joint-business in 1995 to co-operate on Europe – Australia services. This involved co-ordination of fares, schedules and many joint airport lounges throughout Asia. BA and Qantas also shared aircraft, with BA leasing 7 Boeing 767 aircraft to Qantas.

At the turn of the century, with a focus on reducing complexity in its operations, BA turned its attention away from Australia. To reduce the amount of debt on its balance sheet BA also sold its stake in Qantas.

Meanwhile, Qantas saw its future in the Airbus A380 carrying ever larger numbers of passengers to Europe and the Middle East. Towards the end of 2000, Qantas ordered 12 aircraft. A further 8 were ordered in 2006 (International Herald Tribune), but this was subsequently cancelled.

BA and Qantas explored a merger in 2008. The deal was pulled after the two airlines could not agree on the relative shares in the combined business. Given the physical distance between the UK and Australia, it is hard to see how the merger could have achieved the synergies BA has done with Iberia. Legally, it would have to had to comply with the Qantas Sale Act which caps foreign ownership of Qantas. It could have also faced huge political opposition in Australia.

Continue reading “100 Years Of Qantas In The UK: Retreat & Renewal”

100 Years Of Qantas In The UK: The Boeing 747 Era

How the Boeing 747 transformed flying to Australia reducing journey times and enabling Australia to be reached with just one stop en route.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Boeing 747 VH-EBA Seattle Test Flight Seattle 1971
Qantas Boeing 747 VH-EBA Seattle Test Flight Seattle 1971 (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

On 16 November 2020, Qantas will mark 100 years since its incorporation as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd.

In the first part of our series on Qantas in the UK, we looked at its early co-operation with Imperial Airways and BOAC. In part two we looked at how the Boeing 707 allowed Qantas to establish itself as a round-the-world airline.

It is no exaggeration to say that, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Boeing 747 transformed flying between Europe and Australia, enabling it to be ultimately reached with just one stop en route.

The Boeing 747B At Qantas

Qantas Boeing 747-238B “City Of Canberra”
Qantas Boeing 747-238B “City Of Canberra” (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Qantas’ first Boeing 747 aircraft was the 747B. This had the same dimensions as the first version of the 747, but with a longer range and higher maximum take-off weight.

It had capacity for 356 passengers, with the galleys located below the main deck. In common with other airlines, there was a dedicated “Captain Cook” lounge for First Class passengers on the Upper Deck with a nautical theme and a rather lurid 1970s colour scheme!

Qantas Boeing 747 First Class Captain Cook Lounge, 1970s
Qantas Boeing 747 First Class Captain Cook Lounge, 1970s (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

The economy cabin shows that the 1970s was certainly the decade that taste forgot.

Qantas Boeing 747 Economy Class Cabin, 1970s
Qantas Boeing 747 Economy Class Cabin, 1970s (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Qantas’ first Boeing 747 flight departed London Heathrow for Sydney via Bahrain and Singapore on Friday 26 November 1971. Flights initially operated twice weekly on Fridays and Sundays.

In March 1974, Qantas added a second one-stop service from London Heathrow to Perth via Mumbai with a journey time of around 20 hours.

Qantas, QF8 London Heathrow to Perth, March 1974
Qantas, QF8 London Heathrow to Perth, March 1974
Qantas, London Heathrow to Australia Services, March 1974
Qantas, London Heathrow to Australia Services, March 1974
Continue reading “100 Years Of Qantas In The UK: The Boeing 747 Era”

100 Years Of Qantas In The UK: Enter The Jet Age

Qantas enters the Jet Age in the 1960s with the Boeing 707 bringing radical improvements to journey times and its route network.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Boeing 707-138 "City Of Canberra"
Qantas Boeing 707-138 “City Of Canberra” (Image Credit: Qantas)

On 16 November 2020, Qantas will mark 100 years since its incorporation as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd.

In the first part of our series on Qantas in the UK, we looked at Qantas early co-operation with Imperial Airways and BOAC and its own first flights to London.

Over the course of the 1960s, Qantas entered the jet age, operating the Boeing 707 on routes from London. This delivered radical improvements to journey times and increased the scope of its global network.

Poster for Qantas Airways, July 1959
Qantas Boeing 707 Jets From London, 31 July 1959

The first Qantas Boeing 707 routes from London operated to Sydney via the Pacific. The first flight departed London on 31 July 1959, two days after its inaugural flight from Sydney to San Francisco.

Passengers could fly from London to Sydney via San Francisco in just over 30 hours, saving over 25 hours’ journey time. It would shortly fly the “Kangaroo Route” to Australia via Singapore.

Poster for Qantas Boeing 707 Jets Around The World, October 1959
Qantas Boeing 707 Jets Around The World, October 1959

“Fastest Jets To USA & Australia”

Two years later in 1961 introduced a special version of the Boeing 707 known as the “V Jet”.

This had more powerful engines, delivering more journey time improvements from London to Sydney.

Qantas Boeing 707 V-Jets, 25 September 1961
Qantas Boeing 707 V-Jets, 25 September 1961
Continue reading “100 Years Of Qantas In The UK: Enter The Jet Age”

100 Years Of Qantas In The UK: The First Flights

How Qantas, Imperial Airways and BOAC pioneered the first scheduled passenger flights between the UK and Australia.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Empire Airways Lockheed Constellation Aircraft VH-EAC, Sydney, 1947
Qantas Empire Airways Lockheed Constellation Aircraft VH-EAC, Sydney, 1947 (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

On 16 November 2020, Qantas will mark 100 years since its incorporation as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd. It would soon become known as Q.A.N.T.A.S. and then Qantas.

It was many decades in to its existence before Qantas started flying to the UK in its own right. Together with BA’s predecessor airlines Imperial Airways and BOAC, it pioneered the first flights between the UK and Australia from the 1930s.

On 8 December 1934, the first UK to Australia mail service began operated by Imperial Airways (from Croydon to Karachi), Indian Trans-Continental (Karachi to Singapore) and Qantas Empire Airways, formed by Qantas and Imperial Airways, (Singapore to Brisbane).

The event was marked by a special ceremony at Croydon presided over by Lord Londonderry, Secretary of State for Air. Included in the two tons of letters were three addressed by the King, the Queen, and the Prince of Wales to the Duke of Gloucester at Auckland.

Imperial Airways Air Mail Services, December 1934
Imperial Airways Air Mail Services, December 1934

The next year, on 13 April 1935, the first passenger service operated from London to Brisbane by Imperial Airways and Qantas Empire Airways. It initially operated weekly and the trip took 12 and a half days. It would become officially known as the Kangaroo Route.

Services initially operated weekly, and were progressively increased to twice weekly and thrice weekly throughout the 1930s. The journey time was improved so that flights to Australia took “only” 10 days.

Imperial Airways Services To Australia, May 1936
Imperial Airways Services To Australia, May 1936
Imperial Airways Flying Boats, March 1937
Imperial Airways Flying Boats, March 1937
Imperial Airways Flying Boats, May 1939
Imperial Airways Flying Boats, May 1939

By 1939, services to Australia were operated with flying boats. Passengers would depart from the Imperial Airways Terminal in Victoria to catch a train to Southampton.

Imperial Airways / Qantas Empire Airways Poster
Imperial Airways / Qantas Empire Airways Poster (Image Credit: Qantas)
Continue reading “100 Years Of Qantas In The UK: The First Flights”

Qantas Bids Farewell To The Boeing 747

Qantas is to retire its last Boeing 747 aircraft, nearly fifty years after it revolutionised travel between the UK and Australia.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Boeing 747-238B "City Of Canberra"
Qantas Boeing 747-238B “City Of Canberra” (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

2020 will be known for many things, but in the world of aviation it will be remembered for the year that brought an abrupt end to the Boeing 747.

At approximately 14:00 AEST on Wednesday 22 July 2020, a Qantas Boeing 747 VH-OEJ will depart Sydney for Los Angeles under flight number QF7474 as its last flight.

From Los Angeles, it complete a short hop to Mojave to join a number of Qantas Boeing 747s which have been in storage since the suspension of international flights.

It has been a long time since Qantas has operated scheduled international flights and even longer since Qantas Boeing 747s were seen at London Heathrow.

It’s no exaggeration to say the Boeing 747 fundamentally changed Qantas’ position in global aviation and how passengers travelled from Europe to Australia.

Qantas Before The Boeing 747

Before the Boeing 747 entered into service, Qantas was Australia’s self-styled “Round The World Airline”.

Qantas Boeing 707 Around The World Jet Services, 1959
Qantas Boeing 707 Around The World Jet Services, 1959

At its peak, with its fleet of Boeing 707 aircraft, Qantas offered no less than four different routings between the UK and Australia.

There was the “Kangaroo Route” which traced its origins to the 1930s. A typical routing with the Boeing 707 was London – Rome – Cairo – Karachi – Calcutta – Bangkok – Singapore – Darwin.

In 1959, Qantas also launched a westbound service to Sydney via New York, San Francisco, Honolulu and Fiji.

Five years later in 1964, Qantas added two additional routes. There was a relatively short-lived second westbound service to Sydney known as the “Fiesta route”. This called at Bermuda, Nassau, Mexico City, Acapulco, Tahiti and Fiji.

A second eastbound route called at either Athens or Istanbul, Tehran, New Delhi, Hong Kong (with the option of flying on to Tokyo) before reaching Australia.

The 747B

The 747 changed everything. It enabled passengers to reach Australia with just two stops en-route from London.

Qantas’ first Boeing 747 aircraft was the 747B. This had the same dimensions as the first variant of the 747, but with a longer range and higher maximum take-off weight.

It had capacity for 356 passengers, with the galleys located below the main deck. In common with other airlines, there was a dedicated “Captain Cook” lounge for First Class passengers on the Upper Deck.

Qantas Captain Cook Lounge, Boeing 747 Upper Deck 1971
Qantas Captain Cook Lounge, Boeing 747 Upper Deck 1971 (Image Credit: Qantas)

Qantas’ first Boeing 747 flight departed London Heathrow for Sydney via Bahrain and Singapore on Friday 26 November 1971. Flights initially operated twice weekly on Fridays and Sundays.

In March 1974, Qantas added a second one-stop service from London Heathrow to Perth via Mumbai with a journey time of around 20 hours.

Qantas, QF8 London Heathrow to Perth, March 1974
Qantas, QF8 London Heathrow to Perth, March 1974
Qantas, London Heathrow to Australia Services, March 1974
Qantas, London Heathrow to Australia Services, March 1974
Continue reading “Qantas Bids Farewell To The Boeing 747”

Qantas Suspends London Flights Until October 2020

Qantas has suspended all scheduled passenger flights from London to Australia until the end of October 2020 at the earliest.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019
Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019 (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Qantas has suspended all scheduled passenger flights from London Heathrow to Australia until the end of October 2020 at the earliest.

Qantas does not expect to operate any scheduled international passenger flights, except for New Zealand, until the end of October.

This follows comments by the Australian Federal Government that it does not expect to reopen its borders to international travel until 2021.

Australia, and New Zealand, have been relatively successful at containing the outbreak of COVID-19.

However, after declaring no active cases of COVID-19, New Zealand now has three active cases, all from international air travellers returning to the country. Recently reported cases in the Australian state of Victoria are also due to returning international travellers.

This will make all countries extremely cautious about lifting travel restrictions, and requiring strict adherence to rules on quarantine for arriving passengers.

Qantas has operated special repatriation flights from London Heathrow to Perth. These were suspended in early June after the Australian Federal Government ended funding for these flights.

Qantas’ original plan following the outbreak of COVID-19 was to operate twice daily flights from London Heathrow to Melbourne and Sydney, via Perth non-stop, with Boeing 787-9 aircraft, with the latter replacing its daily Airbus A380 service to Sydney via Singapore. This is likely to be the case when Qantas eventually resumes flights from London.

For passengers with bookings, guidance on refunds and rebooking flights is available from Qantas.

Qantas Postpones Launch Of Non-Stop Sydney Flights

Qantas has postponed plans to order Airbus A350-1000 aircraft capable of flying non-stop from London to the East Coast of Australia.

London Air Travel » Qantas

Qantas Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft CGI Image
Qantas Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft CGI Image (Image Credit: Airbus / Qantas)

Qantas has postponed indefinitely plans to order aircraft capable of flying from London Heathrow to Sydney non-stop.

Project Sunrise was the name given to one of the most hyped aircraft tenders by an airline in history.

After receiving bids from Airbus and Boeing Qantas had selected an ultra long-range variant of the Airbus A350-1000 as its preferred aircraft. Qantas was due to confirm its order with Airbus by the end of April 2020 to secure delivery of aircraft by 2023.

Qantas Project Sunrise
Qantas Project Sunrise (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

This project has now been postponed indefinitely. That is not to say it won’t ultimately happen. Qantas viewed the ability to operate non-stop flights between Europe and Australia as a significant source of competitive advantage. Its rivals in Asia and the Middle East do not have the traffic rights and European airlines do not have the inclination to operate a small sub-fleet of ultra long-haul aircraft. Like all airlines, Qantas simply doesn’t know how long it will take for demand to recover and what restrictions will be remain on international travel.

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