16 November 1920 |
Winton, Queensland, Australia
|Commenced operations||March 1921|
|Frequent-flyer program||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Company slogan||The Spirit of Australia|
|Traded as||ASX: QAN|
|Headquarters||Mascot, Sydney, Australia|
|Revenue||A$16.1 billion (2017)|
|Operating income||A$1.59 billion (2017)|
|Total assets||A$17.2 billion (2017)|
|Total equity||A$3.54 billion (2017)|
Qantas Airways (//; ASX: QAN) is the flag carrier of Australia and its largest airline by fleet size, international flights and international destinations. It is the third oldest airline in the world, after KLM and Avianca having been founded in November 1920; it began international passenger flights in May 1935. The Qantas name comes from "QANTAS", an acronym for its original name, "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services", and it is nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo". Qantas is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance.
The airline is based in the Sydney suburb of Mascot with its main hub at Sydney Airport. As of March 2014[update], Qantas had a 65% share of the Australian domestic market and carried 14.9% of all passengers travelling in and out of Australia. Various subsidiary airlines operate to regional centres and on some trunk routes within Australia under the QantasLink banner. Its subsidiary Jetconnect provides services between Australia and New Zealand, flying under the Qantas brand. Qantas also owns Jetstar Airways, a low-cost airline that operates both international services from Australia and domestic services within Australia and New Zealand; and holds stakes in a number of other Jetstar-branded airlines.
Qantas was founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 by Hudson Fysh, Paul McGinness and Fergus McMaster as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited. The airline's first aircraft was an Avro 504K. In 1920 Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd had its headquarters in Winton before moving to Longreach, Queensland in 1921 and Brisbane, Queensland in 1930.
In 1934, QANTAS and Britain's Imperial Airways (a forerunner of British Airways) formed a new company, Qantas Empire Airways Limited (QEA). The new airline commenced operations in December 1934, flying between Brisbane and Darwin. QEA flew internationally from May 1935, when the service from Darwin was extended to Singapore (Imperial Airways operated the rest of the service through to London). After World War II began, enemy action and accidents destroyed half of the fleet of ten, when most of the fleet was taken over by the Australian government for war service.
Flying boat services were resumed in 1943, with flights between the Swan River at Crawley in Perth, Western Australia and Koggala lake in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). This linked up with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC, the successor airline to Imperial Airways) service to London. Qantas' kangaroo logo was first used on the "Kangaroo Route", begun in 1944, from Sydney to Karachi, where BOAC crews took over for the rest of the journey to the UK.
In 1947, QEA was nationalised by the Australian government led by Labor Prime Minister Ben Chifley. QANTAS Limited was then wound up. After nationalisation, Qantas' remaining domestic network, in Queensland, was transferred to the also nationally owned Trans Australia Airlines, leaving Qantas with a purely international network. Shortly after nationalisation, QEA began its first services outside the British Empire – to Tokyo. Services to Hong Kong began around the same time. In 1957 a head office, Qantas House, opened in Sydney. In June 1959 Qantas entered the jet age when the first Boeing 707-138 was delivered.
On 14 September 1992Trans Australia Airlines in 1986). The airline started to be rebranded to Qantas in the following year. Qantas was gradually privatised between 1993 and 1997. Under the legislation passed to allow the privatisation, Qantas must be at least 51% owned by Australian shareholders., Qantas merged with nationally owned domestic airline, Australian Airlines (renamed from
The main domestic competitor to Qantas, Ansett Australia, collapsed on 14 September 2001. Market share for Qantas immediately neared 90%, but with the entry of new budget airline Virgin Blue into the domestic market, Qantas' market share fell. Qantas created the budget Jetstar Airways in 2001 to compete, and the market share of the Qantas Group settled at a relatively stable position of about 65%, with 30% for Virgin Blue and other regional airlines accounting for the rest of the market.
Qantas briefly revived the Australian Airlines name for a short-lived international budget airline between 2002 and 2006, but this subsidiary was shut down in favour of expanding Jetstar internationally, including to New Zealand. In 2004, the Qantas group expanded into the Asian budget airline market with Jetstar Asia Airways, in which Qantas owns a minority stake. A similar model was used for the investment into Jetstar Pacific, headquartered in Vietnam, in 2007, and Jetstar Japan, launched in 2012.
In December 2006, Qantas was the subject of a failed bid from a consortium calling itself Airline Partners Australia. Merger talks with British Airways in 2008 also did not proceed to an agreement. In 2011, an industrial relations dispute between Qantas and the Transport Workers Union of Australia resulted in the grounding of all Qantas aircraft and lock-out of the airline's staff for two days.
On 24 March 2018, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner became the first scheduled non-stop commercial flight between Australia and Europe. Flight QF9, was a 17-hour, 14,498km (9,009-mile) journey from Perth to London Heathrow.
The key trends for the Qantas Group (Qantas Airways Ltd and Controlled Entities, which includes Jetstar and Qantas Cargo), are shown below (as at year ending 30 June):
|Profits (Statutory profit/loss after tax) (A$m)||970||123||116||249||−244||6||−2,843||560||985||793|
|Number of employees (FTE)||33,670||33,966||32,489||33,169||33,584||33,265||30,751||28,622||29,204||29,596|
|Number of passengers (m)||38.6||38.4||41.4||44.5||46.7||48.2||48.8||49.2||52.7||53.7|
|Passenger load factor (%)||80.7||79.6||80.8||80.1||80.1||79.3||77.4||79.1||80.1||80.6|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||224||229||254||283||308||312||308||299||303||309|
Qantas has operated a number of passenger airline subsidiaries since inception, including:
Qantas, through its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programme, has some links with the Aboriginal Australian community. As of 2007, the company has run the programme for more than ten years and 1–2% of its staff are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Qantas employs a full-time Diversity Coordinator, who is responsible for the programme.
Qantas has also bought and donated some Aboriginal art. In 1993, the airline bought a painting — Honey Ant and Grasshopper Dreaming — from the Central Australian desert region. As of 2007, this painting is on permanent loan to Yiribana at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1996, Qantas donated five extra bark paintings to the gallery. Qantas has also sponsored and supported Aboriginal artists in the past.
An early television campaign, starting in 1969 and running for several decades, was aimed at American audiences; it featured a live koala, voiced by Howard Morris, who complained that too many tourists were coming to Australia and concluded "I hate Qantas." The koala ads have been ranked among the greatest commercials of all time. A long-running advertising campaign features renditions by children's choirs of Peter Allen's "I Still Call Australia Home", at various famous landmarks in Australia and foreign locations such as Venice.
Qantas is the main sponsor of the Qantas Wallabies, the Australian national Rugby Union team. It also sponsors the Socceroos, Australia's national association football team. Qantas is the main sponsor for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. On 26 December 2011, Qantas signed a four-year deal with Australian cricket's governing body Cricket Australia, to be the official carrier of the Australia national cricket team. However, Qantas is very disappointed due to recent ball tampering by Australian national cricket team. According to Alan Joyce, the head of airline, Qantas is in discussion with Cricket Australia as the issue unfolds. Qantas want the authorities to complete the inquiry urgently and take appropriate actions.
Qantas management has expressed strong support for Marriage Equality and LGBTIQ issues, with CEO Alan Joyce said to be, "arguably the most prominent corporate voice in the marriage equality campaign." As official airline partner for the Sydney Mardi Gras, Qantas decorated one of its aircraft with rainbow wording and positioned a rainbow flag next to the tail’s flying kangaroo. Qantas also served pride cookies to its passengers. It had a rainbow roo float in the Mardi Gras parade. There has been criticism of Qantas using its corporate power to prosecute the private interests on their staff and the community. Peter Dutton has said that chief executives such as Alan Joyce at Qantas should "stick to their knitting" rather than using the company's brand to advocate for political causes. A senior church leader has made similar comments. Despite the criticism, Qantas will continue to advocate for marriage equality which will include offering customers specially commissioned rings with the phrase, "until we all belong". This phrase will also appear on, Qantas boarding passes and other paraphernalia. The cost of the campaign by Qantas and other participating companies is expected to be more than $5 million.
The Qantas Sale Act, under which the airline was privatised, limits foreign ownership of Qantas to 49 percent. Foreign airlines are subject to further restrictions under the act, which stipulates a 35-percent limit for all foreign airline shareholdings combined. In addition, a single foreign entity can hold no more than 25 percent of the airline's shares. This act was amended in 2014 to repeal parts of paragraph 7.
In August 2011 the company announced that, due to financial losses and a decline in market share, major structural changes would be made. Up to 1,000 jobs would be lost in Australia, and a new Asia-based premium airline would be set up, operating under a different name. It would also launch a budget airline, called Jetstar Japan, in partnership with Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi Corporation. The change became necessary because of losses in the airline's international operations, due to airlines such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines becoming more competitive and because of the deregulation of Australian international routes during the mid-to-late 1980s. Included in the changes was the cessation of services to London via Hong Kong and Bangkok; Qantas still operated to these cities, but with onward flights to London via its Oneworld partner British Airways under a code-share service.
Qantas is attempting to turn around its international operations, which lost about A$200 million ($209 million) for the year ending June 2011. Therefore, on 26 March 2012, Qantas announced it would set up Jetstar Hong Kong with China Eastern Airlines Corporation, which was intended to begin flights in 2013, but became embroiled in a protracted approval process.
Due to high fuel prices, intense competition and industrial disputes, Qantas reported a A$245 million full-year loss to the end of June 2012, which was its first loss since Qantas was fully privatised 17 years previously, in 1995, and led to the airline cancelling its order of 35 new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, to reduce its spending. In focusing on core business, Qantas also divested itself of its 50% holding of StarTrack, Australia's largest road freight company, in part for acquiring full interest in Australian Air Express.
Qantas and Emirates began their alliance on 31 March 2013, in which their combined carriers offered 98 flights per week to Dubai, that saw bookings up six-fold. To accommodate Muslim sensitivities, the airline stopped serving pork on flights bound to/from Europe, which provoked a backlash on social media. In September that year, following the announcement the carrier expected an A$250 million (US$220 million) net loss for the half-year period that ended on 31 December and the implementation of cost-cutting measures that would see the cut of 1,000 jobs within a year, S&P downgraded Qantas credit from BBB- (the lowest investment grade) to BB+, which may imply a rise in borrowing costs and a limitation in the investment potential. Moody's applied a similar downgrading a month later.
The Qantas Group reported a loss of A$235 million (US$208 million) for the first half of FY 2014. Cost-cutting measures to save A$2 billion, including the loss of 5,000 jobs that will see the workforce lowered from 32,000 to 27,000 by 2017, were announced in February 2014 . In May 2014 the company said it would have shed 2,200 jobs by June 2014, including those of 100 pilots. The carrier also reduced the size of its fleet by retiring aircraft and deferring deliveries; and planned to sell some of its assets. With 2,200 employees laid off by June 2014, another 1,800 job positions were expected to be cut by June 2015.
In 2015, Qantas sold its lease of Terminal 3 at Sydney Airport, which was due to continue until 2019, back to Sydney Airport Corporation for $535 million. This means Sydney Airport resumes operational responsibility of the terminal, including the lucrative retail areas.
Paris-based Australian designer Martin Grant is responsible for the new Qantas airline staff uniforms that were publicly unveiled on 16 April 2013. These were to replace the previous uniforms, dubbed colloquially as "Morrisey" by staff after the designer, Peter Morrissey. Qantas ambassador and model Miranda Kerr assisted with the launch of the new outfits for which the colours of navy blue, red and fuchsia pink are combined. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce stated that the new design "speaks of Australian style on the global stage" at the launch event that involved Qantas employees modelling the uniforms. Grant consulted with Qantas staff members over the course of one year to finalise the 35 styles that were eventually created. Not all employees were happy with the new uniform, however, with one flight attendant being quoted as saying "The uniforms are really tight and they are simply not practical for the very physical job we have to do."
Qantas flies to 20 domestic destinations and 21 international destinations in 14 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania excluding the destinations served by its subsidiaries. The entire Qantas group serves 65 domestic and 31 international destinations.
Qantas operates flightseeing charters to Antarctica on behalf of Croydon Travel. It first flew Antarctic flightseeing trips in 1977. They were suspended for a number of years due to the crash of Air New Zealand Flight 901 on Mount Erebus in 1979. Qantas restarted the flights in 1994. Although these flights do not touch down, they require specific polar operations and crew training due to factors like sector whiteout, which contributed to the 1979 Air New Zealand disaster.
With non-stop service between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth aboard the Airbus A380 starting on 29 September 2014, Qantas operated the world's longest passenger flight on the world's largest passenger aircraft. This was overtaken by Emirates' Auckland-Dubai flight, which started on 1 March 2016. After the Boeing 787 aircraft are delivered, Qantas announced an intention to launch non-stop flights between Australia and the United Kingdom during March 2018 from Perth, Western Australia to London. The flight was launched on the 24th of March 2018.
As of April 2018, the Qantas mainline fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Airbus A380-800||12||8||14||64||35||371||484||Remaining orders postponed indefinitely.|
|Boeing 747-400||4||—||14||52||32||255||353||To be retired by 2020 and replaced by Boeing 787–9|
|Boeing 747-400ER||6||—||—||58||36||270||364||To be retired by 2020 and replaced by Boeing 787–9|
|Boeing 787–9||5||9||—||42||28||166||236||Original order for eight with 15 options and a further 30 purchase rights. Six more ordered in May 2018.|
As of July 2017[update], Qantas and its subsidiaries operate 285 aircraft, which includes 71 aircraft by Jetstar Airways, 82 by the various QantasLink-branded airlines, 8 by Jetconnect and 5 by Express Freighters Australia (on behalf of Qantas Freight, which also wet leases three Atlas Air Boeing 747-400Fs).
On 22 August 2012, Qantas announced that, due to losses and to conserve capital, it had cancelled its 35-aircraft Boeing 787–9 order while keeping the 15-aircraft 787-8 order for Jetstar Airways and moving forward 50 purchase rights. On 20 August 2015 Qantas announced that it had ordered eight Boeing 787-9s for delivery from 2017.
On 27 October 2016, Qantas revealed revamped 787 interiors as well as a new livery for the airline, featuring a new typeface and streamlined logo.
Qantas has named its aircraft since 1926. Themes have included Greek gods, stars, people in Australian aviation history, and Australian birds. Since 1959, the majority of Qantas aircraft have been named after Australian cities. The Airbus A380 series, the flagship of the airline, is named after Australian aviation pioneers, with the first A380 named Nancy-Bird Walton.
One Qantas Boeing 737-800 is decorated with an Indigenous Australian art scheme. The livery, called Mendoowoorrji, was revealed in November 2013. The design was drawn from the late West Australian Aboriginal artist Paddy Bedford.
A previous scheme on another 737-800, titled Yananyi Dreaming, featured a depiction of Uluru. The scheme was designed by Uluru-based artist Rene Kulitja, in collaboration with Balarinji Studio in Adelaide. It was painted on the 737 at the Boeing factory prior to its delivery in 2002. It was repainted into the standard livery in 2014.
Two other Australian Aboriginal art designs have been displayed on Qantas aircraft. Two Boeing 747s (a −400 and later a −400ER) were adorned in a paint scheme called Wunala Dreaming. Wunala Dreaming was the first Australian Aboriginal art scheme and was unveiled in 1994. The motif was an overall-red design depicting ancestral spirits in the form of kangaroos travelling in the outback. The second design was called Nalanji Dreaming and was painted on one of the airline's now-retired Boeing 747-300s in 1995. Nalanji Dreaming was a bright blue design inspired by rainforest landscape and tropical seas.
In November 2014 the airline revealed that the 75th Boeing 737–838 jet to be delivered would carry a 'retro-livery' based on the airline's 1970s' colour scheme design featuring the iconic 'Flying Kangaroo' on its tail and other aspects drawn from its 1970s fleet. The aircraft was delivered on 17 November. On 16 November 2015 the airline unveiled a second Boeing 737–838 in a different 'retro-livery' from 1959 to celebrate the airline's 95th birthday.
Several Qantas aircraft have been decorated with promotional liveries, promoting telecommunications company Optus; the Disney motion picture Planes; the Australian national association football team, the Socceroos; and the Australian national rugby union team, the Wallabies. Two aircraft – an Airbus A330-200 and a Boeing 747–400 – were decorated with special liveries promoting the Oneworld airline alliance (of which Qantas is a member) in 2009. On 29 September 2014, nonstop Airbus A380 service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was inaugurated using an A380 decorated with a commemorative cowboy hat and bandana on the kangaroo tail logo. Prior to the 2017 Sydney Mardi Gras, Qantas decorated one of its Airbus A330-300 aircraft with rainbow lettering and depicted a rainbow flag on the tail of the aircraft.
Qantas has several in-flight entertainment systems installed on its aircraft. Across the fleet, the in-flight experience is referred to as "On:Q". Every Qantas mainline aircraft has some form of video audio entertainment. "iQ" is featured in all classes of the Airbus A380, refurbished 747s, A330-300s, and refurbished Airbus A330-200s. Additionally, it has been implemented on new Boeing 737-800s and refurbished Boeing 747s. This audio video on demand (AVOD) experience is based on the Panasonic Avionics system and features expanded entertainment options; touch screens; and new communications-related features such as Wi-Fi and mobile phone functionality; as well as increased support for electronics (such as USB and iPod connectivity).
The "Total Entertainment System" by Rockwell Collins is featured on the one unrefurbished Boeing 747 and two unrefurbished Airbus A330-200 aircraft. This AVOD system includes personal LCD screens in all classes, located in the seat back for economy and business class, and in the armrest for premium economy and first class.
The Mainscreen System, where video screens are the only available form of video entertainment; movies are shown on the screens for lengthier flights, or TV programmes on shorter flights. A news telecast will usually feature at the start of the flight. Audio options are less varied than on iQ or the Total Entertainment System. The Mainscreen System is installed on all domestic configured Boeing 737-800s delivered before 2011.
Since 2014, Sky News Australia has provided multiple news bulletins both in-flight and in Qantas branded lounges. Previously, the Australian Nine Network provided a news bulletin for Qantas entitled Nine's Qantas Inflight News, which was the same broadcast as Nine's Early Morning News, however Nine lost the contract to Sky News.
Q Streaming is an in-flight entertainment system in which entertainment is streamed to iPads, available in all classes. A selection of movies, TV, music and a kids' choice are available.
Boeing's cancellation of the Connexion by Boeing system caused concerns that in-flight internet would not be available on next-generation aircraft such as Qantas' fleet of Airbus A380s. However, Qantas announced in July 2007 that all service classes in its fleet of A380s would have wireless internet access, as well as seat-back access to e-mail and cached web browsing. Certain elements would also be retrofitted into existing Boeing 747-400s. The in-flight entertainment system indicates that Internet access is provided by OnAir.
In April 2007, Qantas announced a trial for use of mobile telephones with AeroMobile, during domestic services for three months on a Boeing 767. During the trial, passengers were allowed to send and receive text messages and emails, but were not able to make or receive calls.
Qantas moved from an in-house Passenger Service System known as QUBE (Qantas Universal Business Environment) to an outsourced solution provided by Amadeus in late 2000. In September 2007, Qantas announced a ten-year extension of the outsourcing agreement.
In July 2015, Qantas signed a deal with American cable network HBO to provide over 120 hours of television programming in-flight from the network which will be updated monthly, as well as original lifestyle and entertainment programming from both Foxtel and the National Geographic Channel.
It offers 14 individual suites in a 1-1-1 layout. The seats rotate, facing forward for takeoff, but rotating to the side for dining and sleeping, with 83.5 in seat pitch (extending to a 212 cm fully flat bed) and a width of 74 cm (29 in). Each suite has a 43 cm (17 in) widescreen HD monitor with 1,000 AVOD programs. In addition to 110 V AC power outlets, USB ports are offered for connectivity. Passengers are also able to make use of the on-board business lounge on the upper deck. Complimentary access to either the first class or business class lounges (or affiliated lounges) is offered.
On the Boeing 747–400, there are 14 flat-bed seats, located on the main deck. The seats are slightly shorter than on the A380, due to their position near the nose of the aircraft: 200 cm (79 in) versus 212 cm (83 in).
Business class is offered on all Qantas mainline passenger aircraft.
International Business Class is available on the Boeing 747, International Airbus A330-200s, the A330-300 and the Airbus A380. On the Boeing 747, seating is in a 2-3-2 configuration on the main deck and a 2–2 configuration on the upper deck. The A330 features a 2-2-2 configuration. Two versions of what Qantas calls its "Skybed", the lie-flat business-class seat, are available. Older versions of the lie-flat Skybeds featured 150 cm (60 in) of seat pitch and 55 cm (21 1⁄2 in) width; however passengers slept at a distinct slope to the cabin floor. Later versions of the Skybed have an 200 cm (80 in) pitch, and lie fully horizontal. By the end of 2016, the business class of its entire fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft was fitted with lie flat seats designed by Mark Newson.
The Boeing 747s and Airbus A330s feature a 26 cm (10 in) touchscreen monitor with 400 AVOD programs. Qantas' new international business class product is featured on the Airbus A380. It features 64 fully flat Skybed seats with 200 cm (80 in) seat pitch (converting to a 200 cm long bed). These seats are located on the upper-deck in a 2-2-2 configuration in two separate cabins. Features include a 30 cm touchscreen monitor with 1,000 AVOD programmes and an on-board lounge. The latest business class product introduced on the A330 in October 2014 features a fully flat 198 cm bed in a 1-2-1 configuration making each passenger having direct aisle access. This seat can be reclined during take off and landing while sporting the latest Panasonic eX3 system with a touchscreen. The A330 would fly to its Asian and transcontinental routes across Australia while serving smaller routes such as the East Coast triangle. The 747 would fly to its Asian and African routes and serves North and South America. The A380 would be seen on its flagship routes such as London via Dubai, Los Angeles, Dallas and a seasonal route to Hong Kong.
Complimentary access to the Qantas business class lounge (or affiliated lounges) is also offered.
Premium economy class is only available on Airbus A380, Boeing 787-9 and all Boeing 747–400 aircraft. It has a seat pitch of 97 cm (38 in) on the Boeing 747 and it ranges from 97 to 107 cm (38 to 42 in) on the Airbus A380, with a width of 50 cm (19 1⁄2 in). On the Boeing 747, it is configured in a 2-4-2 seating arrangement around the middle of the main deck, whilst it is in a 2-3-2 at the rear of the upper deck on the A380. All A380s have 35 seats.
Qantas premium economy is presented as a lighter business class product rather than most other airlines' premium economy, which is often presented as a higher economy class, however Qantas premium economy does not offer access to premium lounges, and meals are only a slightly uprated version of economy class meals.
Economy class is available on all Qantas mainline passenger aircraft.
Seat pitch is usually 79 cm (31 in) and seat width ranges from 43 to 44 cm (17 to 17 1⁄2 in). Layouts are 3–3 on the 737, 2-4-2 on the A330 and 3-4-3 on the 747. On the A380, the layout is 3-4-3 and there are four self-service snack bars located in between cabins.
Qantas has smartphone application programs ("apps") for Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms. The iOS apps are separated into two – one (named Qantas Points) for members of its Qantas Frequent Flyer programme to manage their points, while the other (named Qantas) provides mobile check-in and boarding passes to link with Passbook, live flight updates and information on airport lounges, fare sales/alerts, and the ability to book flights and hotels. An Android app was launched on 7 August 2013.
The Qantas frequent flyer programme is aimed at rewarding customer loyalty. Points are accrued based on distance flown, with bonuses that vary by travel class. Points can also be earned on other Oneworld airlines as well as through other non-airline partners. Points can be redeemed for flights or upgrades on flights operated by Qantas, Oneworld airlines, and other partners. Other partners include credit cards, car rental companies, hotels and many others. To join the programme, passengers living in Australia or New Zealand pay a one-off joining fee, and then become a Bronze Frequent Flyer (residents of other countries may join without a fee). All accounts remain active as long as there is points activity once every eighteen months. Flights with Qantas and selected partner airlines earn Status Credits — and accumulation of these allows progression to Silver status (Oneworld Ruby), Gold status (Oneworld Sapphire), Platinum and Platinum One status (Oneworld Emerald).
Qantas has faced criticism regarding availability of seats for members redeeming points. In 2004, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission directed Qantas to provide greater disclosure to members regarding the availability of frequent-flyer seats.
In March 2008, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase suggested that the Qantas frequent-flyer program could be worth A$2 billion (US$1.9 billion), representing more than a quarter of the total market value of Qantas.
On 1 July 2008 a major overhaul of the programme was announced. The two key new features of the programme were Any Seat rewards, in which members could now redeem any seat on an aircraft, rather than just selected seats — at a price. The second new feature was Points Plus Pay, which has enabled members to use a combination of cash and points to redeem an award. Additionally, the Frequent Flyer store was also expanded to include a greater range of products and services. Announcing the revamp, Qantas confirmed it would be seeking to raise about A$1 billion in 2008 by selling up to 40% of the frequent flyer program. However, in September 2008, it stated it would defer the float, citing volatile market conditions.
The Qantas Club is the airline lounge for Qantas with airport locations around Australia and the world. Additionally, Qantas operates dedicated international first-class lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Los Angeles. Domestically, Qantas also offers dedicated Business Lounges at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth for domestic Business Class, Qantas Platinum and Platinum One, and OneWorld Emerald frequent flyers.
In April 2013, Qantas opened its new flagship lounge in Singapore, the Qantas Singapore Lounge. This replaced the former separate first- and business-class lounges as a result of the new Emirates alliance. Similar combined lounges were also opened in Hong Kong in April 2014 and in Brisbane in October 2016. These new lounges provide the same service currently offered by Sofitel in its flagship First lounges in Sydney and Melbourne and a dining experience featuring Neil Perry's Spice Temple inspired dishes and signature cocktails.
Qantas Club Members, Gold Frequent Flyers and Oneworld Sapphire holders are permitted to enter domestic Qantas Clubs when flying on Qantas or Jetstar flights along with one guest who need not be travelling. Platinum and Oneworld Emerald Members are permitted to bring in two guests who do not need to be travelling. Internationally, members use Qantas International Business Class lounges (or the Oneworld equivalent). Guests of the member must be travelling to gain access to international lounges. When flying with American Airlines, members have access to Admirals Club lounges and when flying on British Airways, members have access to British Airways' Terraces and Galleries Lounges.
Platinum Frequent Flyers had previously been able to access the Qantas Club in Australian domestic terminals at any time, regardless of whether they were flying that day. Travellers holding Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status are also allowed in Qantas Club lounges worldwide.
Access to Qantas First lounges is open to passengers travelling on internationally operated Qantas or Oneworld first-class flights, as well as Qantas platinum and Oneworld emerald frequent flyers. Emirates first-class passengers are also eligible for access to the Qantas first lounges in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Qantas Club also offers membership by paid subscription (one, two, or four years) or by achievement of Gold or Platinum frequent flyer status. Benefits of membership include lounge access, priority check-in, priority luggage handling and increased luggage allowances.
It is often claimed, most notably in the 1988 movie Rain Man, that Qantas has never had an aircraft crash. While it is true that the company has neither lost a jet airliner nor had any jet fatalities, it had eight fatal accidents and an aircraft shot down between 1927 and 1945, with the loss of 63 people. Half of these accidents and the shoot-down occurred during World War II, when the Qantas aircraft were operating on behalf of Allied military forces. Post-war, it lost another four aircraft (one was owned by BOAC and operated by Qantas in a pooling arrangement) with a total of 21 people killed. The last fatal accidents suffered by Qantas were in 1951, with three fatal crashes in five months. Qantas' safety record in the jet airliner era was cited as a reason for it being named as the world's safest airline in 2014 and 2015.
Since the end of World War II, the following accidents and incidents have occurred:
On 26 May 1971 Qantas received a call from a "Mr. Brown" claiming that there was a bomb planted on a Hong Kong-bound jet and demanding $500,000 in unmarked $20 notes. The caller and threat were taken seriously when he directed police to an airport locker where a functional bomb was found. Arrangements were made to pick up the money in front of the head office of the airline in the heart of the Sydney business district. Qantas paid the money and it was collected, after which Mr. Brown called again, advising the "bomb on the plane" story was a hoax. The initial pursuit of the perpetrator was bungled by the New South Wales Police Force which, despite having been advised of the matter from the time of the first call, failed to establish adequate surveillance of the pick-up of the money. Directed not to use their radios (for fear of being "overheard"), the police were unable to communicate adequately. Tipped off by a still-unidentified informer, the police arrested an Englishman, Peter Macari, finding more than $138,000 hidden in an Annandale property. Convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison, Macari served nine years before being deported to Britain. More than $224,000 remains unaccounted for. The 1990 telemovie Call Me Mr. Brown, directed by Scott Hicks and produced by Terry Jennings, relates to this incident. On 4 July 1997 a copycat extortion attempt was thwarted by police and Qantas security staff.
In November 2005 it was revealed that Qantas had a policy of not seating adult male passengers next to unaccompanied children. This led to accusations of discrimination. The policy came to light following an incident in 2004 when Mark Wolsay, who was seated next to a young boy on a Qantas flight in New Zealand, was asked to change seats with a female passenger. A steward informed him that "it was the airline's policy that only women were allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children". Cameron Murphy of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties president criticised the policy and stated that "there was no basis for the ban". He said it was wrong to assume that all adult males posed a danger to children. The policy has also been criticised for failing to take female abusers into consideration.
In 2010, when British Airways was successfully sued to change its child seating policy, Qantas argued again that banning men from sitting next to unaccompanied children "reflected parents' concerns". In August 2012, the controversy resurfaced when a male passenger had to swap seats with a female passenger after the crew noticed he was sitting next to an unrelated girl travelling alone. The man felt discriminated against and humiliated before the other passengers as a possible paedophile. A Qantas spokesman defended the policy as consistent with that of other airlines in Australia and around the globe.
In 2006 a class action lawsuit, alleging price-fixing on air cargo freight, was commenced in Australia. The lawsuit was settled early in 2011 with Qantas agreeing to pay in excess of $21 million to settle the case.
Qantas has pleaded guilty to participating in a cartel that fixed the price of air cargo. Qantas Airways Ltd. was fined CAD$155,000 after it admitted that its freight division fixed surcharges on cargo exported on certain routes from Canada between May 2002 and February 2006. In July 2007, Qantas pleaded guilty in the United States to price fixing and was fined a total of $61 million through the Department of Justice investigation. The executive in charge was jailed for six months. Other Qantas executives were granted immunity after the airline agreed to co-operate with authorities. In 2008 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission fined the airline $20 million for breaches of the acts associated with protecting consumers. In November 2010 Qantas was fined 8.8 million euros for its part in an air cargo cartel involving up to 11 other airlines. Qantas was fined NZ$6.5 million in April 2011 when it pleaded guilty in the New Zealand High Court to the cartel operation.
In response to ongoing industrial unrest over failed negotiations involving three unions (the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) and the Transport Workers Union of Australia (TWU)), the company grounded its entire domestic and international fleet from 5 pm AEDT on 29 October. Employees involved would be locked out from 8 p.m. AEDT on 31 October. It was reported that the grounding would have a daily financial impact of A$20 million. In the early hours of 31 October, Fair Work Australia ordered that all industrial action taken by Qantas and the involved trade unions be terminated immediately. The order was requested by the federal government amid fears that an extended period of grounding would do significant damage to the national economy, especially the tourism and mining sectors. The grounding affected an estimated 68,000 customers worldwide.
Qantas has been subject to protests in relation to asylum seekers deportations leading to disruptions of flights. In 2015 activists prevented the transfer of a Tamil man from Melbourne to Darwin (from where he was to be deported to Colombo) by refusing to take their seats on a Qantas flight . It was reported that Qantas banned the student from taking Qantas flights in the future. A nameless head of security from Qantas sent a letter to the Melbourne student's email account saying her "actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the Qantas Group or the Jetstar Group". Also in 2015, another Tamil man was to be sent from Melbourne to Darwin to later be deported. A protest by the man led to him not being put on the plane. A spokesman for Qantas said flight QF838 was delayed almost two hours. The delays reportedly caused inconvenience to multiple passengers, especially those with connecting flights. A spokesperson from Qantas stated that, “[s]afety and security is the number-one priority for all airlines and an aircraft is not the right place for people to conduct protests." Campaigners also asked Qantas to rule out deporting Iraqi man Saeed in 2017. Campaigners have asked Qantas not to participate in the deportation of the high profile case of Priya and Nades. In response a Qantas spokesperson stated: “We appreciate that this is a sensitive issue. The government and courts are best placed to make decisions on complex immigration matters, not airlines.”
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