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Qantas and Australia Post Celebrate Centenary With Special Flight to Mark the Occasion

On Wednesday, Qantas celebrated one hundred years since the first customer and bag of letters crossed the Queensland outback, with Qantas and Australia Post recreating the historic route with a special centenary flight.


Pilot Paul McGinness (right) and mechanic Jack Hazlett with passenger Ivy McLain who flew on the first flight from Cloncurry in 1922 – Courtesy Qantas

On Wednesday (November 2, 2022), Qantas and Australia celebrated 100 years since the first customer and bag of letters crossed the Queensland outback in 1922. Qantas' founders originally started the airline in 1920 and then spent two years preparing for scheduled service by flying joyriders, raising funds, acquiring aircraft and planning the first route. Marking the 100th anniversary of the occasion, Qantas and Australia Post recreated the route with a special centenary flight. Family members of the airlines founders, top tier frequent flyers, and other guests with a connection to the early Queensland mail service were invited onboard the special flight.

The centenary flight (QF6661) was operated with a Bombardier Q400 turboprop (now De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400), and followed the 882 kilometer route taken by Qantas’ co-founders and Pilots Paul McGuinness from Charleville to Longreach, and then by Hudson Fysh from Longreach to Cloncurry. The first flight was performed with an open-cockpit FK8 biplane and took place over two days from November 2nd through 3rd, 1922. Additionally, a replica mailbag flew onboard the centenary flight with 106 handwritten letters from Children in Charleville to kids in Longreach and Cloncurry.


Marking the special occasion, Qantas Group’s CEO, Alan Joyce, said,


“This flight celebrates the entrepreneurship and innovation of our founders a century ago, that still exists in Qantas’ DNA today. Our founding chairman Fergus McMaster prophetically described our first flight as a ‘small beginning which would develop into one of the greatest services in the world’. Qantas has gone from that single biplane flight 100 years ago to the brink of a new era of aviation with our Airbus A350s on order, positioning us to fly people and parcels direct from Australia to any city in the world.


“Qantas and Australia Post have had a long and successful partnership, moving mail and freight for Australians, as we did on that first flight. The rapid growth of online shopping and the demand for air freight that comes with it is only seeing that partnership grow.”

Also commenting on the milestone occasion, Australia Post’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Graham, added,


“One hundred years on from our first airmail flight, our partnership with Qantas continues to go from strength to strength. Receiving mail and parcels from loved ones is as important to people today as it was 100 years ago. Australia Post is proud to play an essential role in delivering to communities across Australia. As we gear up to meet the demands of Christmas, we remain committed to keeping Australians connected, whether delivering by plane, foot, bicycle, van or electric vehicle.”


Australia Post Has launched a Mommemorative 'My Stamps' Collection of 12 Stamps Featuring a Range of Historic Images - Courtesy Qantas/Australia Post

Qantas operates 11 dedicated Australia Post Freighters, and is currently ramping up for a record Christmas season. The carrier is also in the process of converting one of their Airbus A330 widebody passenger aircraft into another dedicated freighter that will be operated on behalf of Australia Post from 2023. The A330 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) aircraft will have the capacity for around 42 tonnes of cargo each flight, approximately twice the capacity of the A321 freighters currently operated for Australia Post. Additionally, another six A321P2Fs have been approved to join Qantas’ fleet from 2023, and will have around 60 percent more capacity and offer 35 percent fuel savings versus the Boeing 737 Freighters they will replace.


Source: Qantas

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