History: Qantas is Australia's largest airline and one of the oldest airlines in the world. Qantas has gone from two fragile biplanes carrying two passengers and a pilot, to an Airbus A380 flying 450 people around the world. Qantas was founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited. Initially the airline operated air mail services subsidised by the Australian government, linking rail-heads in western Queensland.
Between 1926 and 1928 Qantas built several aircraft in Longreach and made the inaugural flight of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, departing from Cloncurry. Qantas Empire Airways Limited (QEA) was formed by Qantas and Britain's Imperial Airways in 1934. They flew internationally from May 1935, when the service from Darwin was extended to Singapore. As operations expanded with flying boat service World War disrupted air travel until 1943. In 1947, QEA was nationalised, with the Australian Labor government buying the shares. In the same year the airline took delivery of Lockheed L-749 Constellations and these took over the trunk route to London. In 1958, Qantas became the second round-the-world airline, flying Super Constellations westward from Australia to London through Asia and the Middle East.
In 1956, Qantas ordered the Boeing 707–138 jet airliner and the first was delivered in June 1959. The first jet service operated by Qantas was on 29 July 1959 from Sydney to San Francisco via Nadi and Honolulu. On 5 September 1959 Qantas became the third airline to fly jets across the North Atlantic. The airline placed orders for the Boeing 747 and Qantas Empire Airways changed its name to Qantas Airways.
Qantas operated its final Boeing 707 flight from Auckland to Sydney, and until the delivery of the first Boeing 767 in 1985 became the only airline in the world to have an all-Boeing 747 fleet.
The Boeing 747 fleet was upgraded from 1989 with the arrival of the new Boeing 747-400 series. The delivery flight of the first 747-400 was a world record for commercial aircraft, flying the 18,001 kilometres (11,185 mi) from London to Sydney non-stop. The Australian Government sold the domestic carrier Australian Airlines to Qantas in August 1992. This provided Qantas access to the Australian domestic market for the first time in its history. Qantas was privatised in March 1993. In 1998, Qantas co-founded the Oneworld alliance with American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. Qantas ordered twelve Airbus A380-800s in 2000 and was soon the third airline to receive A380s, after Singapore Airlines and Emirates. The airline created a new cut-price subsidiary airline, Jetstar Airways after Virgin Blue expanded in October 2001. On 13 December 2004, the first flight of Jetstar Asia Airways took off from its Singapore hub to Hong Kong, marking Qantas' entry into the Asian cut-price market.
Before 29 October 2011, Qantas operated a significant number of international flights into and out of Singapore Changi, Auckland Airport, Los Angeles International and London Heathrow airports. Qantas has been one of the most profitable airlines in the world. In 2008, the first Qantas Airbus A380 was handed over by Airbus at a ceremony on 19 September. The first route for the A380 was Melbourne to Los Angeles.
The partnership with Emirates launched in March 2013 brings together the national and international networks of two great airlines to offer a great choice of destinations and benefits.
Qantas is undergoing a period of restructuring in recent years, cutting non profitable routes, changing some routes to it's low cost division (Jetstar), forming partnerships with other airlines, phasing older aircraft types such as the Boeing 767 and bringing in new ones like the A330 and Dreamliner, which will be launching the first ever passenger non-stop route between Perth and London Heathrow in 2017.