“The Spirit of Australia”
Skytrax rating: 4 stars
- 20 international destinations
- 21 domestic destinations
- Direct flights to Australia
- Code-share with South African Airways
Qantas Airways Limited (Qantas) is the national flag carrier of Australia. IT has been in operation since 1920 and has a 65% share of the domestic air travel market in Australia, where it advertises under the name of Qantas CityFlyer. Qantas has several subsidiary enterprises, including an air cargo service (Qantas Freight) and support services to the Australian military (Qantas Defence Services). For the past five years Qantas has consistently turned over more than $10bn and generated a profit of at least several hundred million dollars annually, sometimes more than $1bn, which is a good result in recessionary global economic conditions.
Qantas has a good reputation for delivering a high level of service and has been numbered among the Skytrax top five airlines annually for the last five years, although it has never achieved the top position.
In addition to its Oneworld partners, Qantas has code-share agreements with 20 other airlines, among them South African Airways.
Qantas operates a fleet of a little under 150 airplanes, including more Airbus 380s on order and an order for 35 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. However, these orders are not expansion moves but rather are aimed at replacing older Boeing 747s and 767s. As a point of interest, Qantas had an option on 4 Concorde aircraft in 1970, but never operated them. Given that one of the highest-demand flight routes in the southern hemisphere is the direct flight between South Africa and Australia (it can only be direct because it crosses the Indian Ocean), the use of a supersonic passenger jet on that route may have done something to alleviate the notorious duration of the flight.
Qantas provides four cabin classes:
- First Class
- Business Class (International Business Class offered on some planes)
- Premium economy class (only on Airbus A380s and some Boeing 747s)
- Economy class (3-4-3 seat layout on the A380s and 747s)
The Qantas “Frequent Flyer” program is named as such.
In 2005, Qantas was involved in the same kind of male-passenger discrimination controversy as British Airways, stemming from the refusal of the airline to allow male passengers to be seated next to unaccompanied children. Despite valid criticism of the seating policy, and despite the fact that British Airways eventually revoked it, it remains in effect on Qantas flights at present.