Australia’s flagship airline Qantas will celebrate its centenary with a low-level flyover of Sydney Harbour.
Qantas was established exactly 100 years ago on Monday in Queensland’s outback by two veterans of the Australian Flying Corps, Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, together with local grazier Fergus McMaster.
Dubbed “The Flying Kangaroo”, Qantas is the oldest continuously-operating airline in the world and has an impeccable safety record.
In pre-COVID times it was the only airline flying to every inhabited continent.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the carrier’s centenary celebrations had been scaled back due to his year coronavirus pandemic.
The health crisis thrust the airline into the worst year in its history with 15,000 employees stood down without pay, 6000 workers sacked and 100 of its aircraft grounded for up to 12 months as borders closed around the world.
“Around the world, Qantas is probably best known for its safety record, endurance flying and long list of aviation firsts,” Joyce said in a statement.
“But for Australians, there’s nothing quite like seeing the flying kangaroo at the airport, waiting to take you home.
“We hope to be doing a lot more of that in the months and years ahead.”
The 100-minute flight at sunset on Monday will carry 100 Qantas employees as well as selected Frequent Flyer passengers.
The plane will perform a wing wave over the HARS aviation museum at Albion Park on the NSW South Coast and Rose Bay in Sydney’s east, which became the first international airport in the city when Qantas launched Flying Boat services from Sydney to London in 1936.