Qantas centenary London to Sydney

Qantas centenary celebrations take off as direct London-Sydney flight lands

Qantas has kicked off 12 months of centenary celebrations as it debuts a non-stop London to Sydney flight.

The latest addition to the national carrier’s fleet, the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner landed in Sydney at 12:28 pm on Friday, 19 hours and 19 minutes after leaving Heathrow. It departed Heathrow Airport and flew across 11 countries including England, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Philippines and Indonesia before crossing the Australian coast near Darwin, tracking south-east across Australia towards Sydney.

It follows the non-stop New York to Sydney flight flown last month as the second of three research flights aimed at improving crew and passenger wellbeing on ultra long haul services under consideration.

The direct flight reduced total travel time by around two hours compared with current one-stop services from the east coast of Australia. It is only the second time any commercial airline has flown this route non-stop after Qantas flew a near-empty 747-400 in 1989. 

The new Dreamliner was met by more than 1,000 Qantas employees to mark the flying kangaroo’s 99th birthday and kick off 12 months of celebrations as it heads towards its centenary.

Three components of those celebrations were revealed – special livery on a new Dreamliner that will be seen at airports around the world, featuring every Qantas logo since 1920; a $1 coin to mark the 100th year that will enter circulation next year; and a touring exhibition that will visit a number of cities around Australia.

Richard Goyder, chairman of the airline, said: “Qantas is a national icon because it’s been such a big part of Australian life for so long.

“We started in outback Queensland carrying mail and a few passengers in the 1920s. We grew as Australia grew, and we’ve had important support roles during wars, national disasters and celebrations. Our founders talked about overcoming the tyranny of distance and through the years we’ve moved from bi-planes to single wing, to jets to help bring things closer,” added Mr Goyder.

Alan Joyce, Group CEO, said: “Almost a century after our first flight, Qantas and Jetstar carry more than 50 million people around this country and the globe each year. I’m sure that would amaze our three founders, who held the early board meetings of this company at the local tailor’s shop because it was the longest table they could find.”

“A lot of Australians saw the world for the first time on a flying kangaroo. And a lot of migrants started their life in Australia when they first stepped on a Qantas plane.

“There are so many amazing Qantas stories that also tell the story of modern Australia. We want our centenary to be a celebration of those stories as well as how we’ll be part of taking the spirit of Australia further in the years ahead.”

Qantas officially turned 99 years old, and began its 100th year on November 16.


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