2020 has been a rather incommensurable year. However, the year has also brought some notable, and surprisingly enough, amicable news. Today (November 16, 2020), Australia’s flagship airline, Qantas, celebrated its centenary. The event included a low-level flyover over the prominent Sydney Harbour.
What Exactly is the Centenary Event?
The 100-minute low-level flight scheduled to celebrate the joyous occasion carried 100 Qantas employees and a few selected Frequent Flyer passengers. The Boeing 787 chosen for this flight performed a ‘wing wave’ over the HARS Aviation Museum on the NSW South Coast and Rose Bay in Sydney’s eastern territory. The HARS Aviation Museum has a special place in Qantas’ history books. It was the first international airport in Sydney when the airline launched its Flying Boat services from Sydney to London in 1930s.
Qantas first took to the skies a hundred years ago in Queensland’s outback when two veterans of the Australian Flying Corps – Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh, alongside a local grazier, Fergus McMaster, started their commercial aviation venture. Known globally as ‘The Flying Kangaroo’, Australia’s flag bearer is the oldest continuously-operating carrier.
The Coronavirus Effect
The celebrations of the significant milestone, however, have been substantially down scaled after a rather tumultuous year. 2020 has forced the carrier to ground more than 95 percent of its fleet. Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, stated:
‘… This is a big milestone. You know, we are the oldest continuous operating airline in the world. It was founded in western Queensland by three entrepreneurs; it is a big milestone.’
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the aviation industry extensively. Many aircraft and airlines have suffered heavy blows and Qantas is no different. 2020 is the worst year in Qantas’ history – over 6000 workers were sacked, about 15000 employees stood down without pay, and more than 100 aircraft are still grounded as international travel has not yet picked up. However, the Chief Executive, Alan Joyce, said he was confident that Qantas would survive this critical time, just as it has survived a multitude of challenges in the last hundred years.
What Lies Ahead for Qantas?
The company has currently predicted that the domestic travel would get back to pre-Covid level not long after the state borders fully opened. In fact, Jetstar and Qantas together sold about forty thousand tickets within the first twenty four hours on the Sydney to Melbourne route when it was announced the NSW/Victorian border would be opened from next Monday (November 23, 2020). Alan Joyce further stated:
‘I have absolutely no doubt we’ll get through this and celebrate another 100 years.’
As we congratulate Qantas on this momentous occasion, we hope the airline gets back on track soon! Have you ever travelled on Qantas? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments!