The flying kangaroo has entered its 100th year in operation after officially turning 99 on Saturday, with the landing of its second Project Sunrise flight.
More than 1,000 Qantas employees were in attendance as the latest addition to Qantas’ fleet, a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, landed in Sydney at 12:28pm on Saturday, 19 hours and 19 minutes after leaving Heathrow.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline’s centenary will be a celebration of modern Australian stories.
“A lot of Australians saw the world for the first time on a flying kangaroo,” Joyce said. “And a lot of migrants started their life in Australia when they first stepped on a Qantas plane.”
“There are so many amazing Qantas stories that also tell the story of modern Australia.
“We want our centenary to be a celebration of those stories, as well as how we’ll be part of taking the spirit of Australia further in the years ahead.”
Qantas revealed the direct flight reduced total travel time by around two hours compared with current one-stop services from the east coast of Australia.
The airline’s second flight of Project Sunrise followed a nonstop New York to Sydney test flight last month, which cut three hours of typical gate-to-gate travel time, according to Qantas.
The airline also revealed how it will be celebrating the year ahead.
Special livery on a new Dreamliner will be seen at airports around the world, featuring every Qantas logo since 1920, while a $1 coin will enter circulation next year to mark its 100th birthday. A touring Qantas exhibition will also visit a number of cities around Australia.
Joyce claps back at Virgin’s bid to challenge on ultra-long-haul flights
As only the second commercial airline in the world to fly between London and the east coast of Australia, Qantas is working to make ultra-long-haul services between Sydney to London, as well as Sydney to New York, a modern reality.
Speaking to the press last week, Virgin CEO and founder Richard Branson said Qantas needs competition on ultra-long-haul routes.
“Maybe Virgin Atlantic might compete with them, maybe Virgin Australia will or maybe together. We will give them a run for their money,” Branson told The Australian.
Speaking after the landing of Qantas’ Project Sunrise flight in Sydney, Joyce said Virgin lacked the expertise or aircraft to challenge them.
“I think Richard is generating publicity, but I have to say, he will find it very difficult to compete against us because we have got this amazing crew, we have these amazing pilots, we’ve got this expertise at long-haul flying that no other airline in the world has,” Joyce told The Australian.
“I don’t think Virgin can do it. I think we will kill them on this one if we had to.”