QANTAS: Past and Present.
March 6, 2007 11:41 PM   Subscribe

QANTAS, Australia's national airline carrier that was once refrenced by Dustin Hoffman's character Ray in Rain Man, is to be taken over by a private consortium called Airline Partners Australia (APA) after the Federal Government gave approval for the takeover yesterday. So what better time than to endulge in a little bit of QANTAS history? Founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 as 'Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited' with just one Avro 540k, QANTAS has played a prominent part in Australia's history, with its fleet being nationalised, privatised and even conscripted for national service during WW2. And although Ray was wrong when he said that QANTAS had never had a crash (indeed, it had 8 and has had several more since Rain Man), the 'flying kangaroo' was still considered an "iconic Australian company" (although there is some debate on that). Nonetheless, if you're really interested in checking out some more QANTAS history, head on over to the National Library of Australia's website, where they have plenty of QANTAS ephemera material online for you to gander at.
posted by Effigy2000 (38 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Just make sure you don't wear a 'World's Biggest Terrorist' T-shirt with a picture of Dubya's face on it if you ever fly with them (previously).
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:42 PM on March 6, 2007

And if you wear three you're really screwed.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 11:57 PM on March 6, 2007

Who owns Qantas at the moment?
posted by Ritchie at 12:04 AM on March 7, 2007

No wonder they took away Effigy2000's star...

Say, do the koalas still hate Qantas? Or just the non-lesbian ones?
posted by wendell at 12:09 AM on March 7, 2007

And although Ray was wrong when he said that QANTAS had never had a crash (indeed, it had 8 and has had several more since Rain Man

Without Googling to verify... I believe Qantas has had no fatality.

And how about the recent Qantas hostess bimbo that had unprotected sex with Ralph Fiennes during a flight? And then she got all upset that Ralphie didn't want to stay best pals. Then she got sacked. Then she did a tell-all on national TV.

(Ralphie was en route to give an AIDS lecture!!! Top laffs all 'round.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:26 AM on March 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Good post Effigy2000. Well done. Weaving in the Rain Man reference was a particularly nice touch.
posted by three blind mice at 1:12 AM on March 7, 2007

Some guy at the bus depot told me Bono kills koalas for sport.
posted by Dizzy at 1:34 AM on March 7, 2007

So, Effigy2000, was that an error when you were commenting, or another Rainman reference?
posted by twine42 at 1:35 AM on March 7, 2007

It's a problem that sometimes happens when I post from work. MeTa.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:44 AM on March 7, 2007

Rain Man was wrong, Effigy2000 was right.

Charlie: Ray, all airlines have crashed at one time or another, that doesn't mean that they are not safe.

Raymond: QANTAS. QANTAS never crashed.

Charlie: QANTAS?

Raymond: Never crashed.

Charlie: Oh that's gonna do me a lot of good because QANTAS doesn't fly to Los Angeles out of Cincinnati, you have to get to Melbourne! Melbourne, Australia in order to get the plane that flies to Los Angeles!

posted by three blind mice at 1:46 AM on March 7, 2007

Some guy at the bus depot told me Bono kills koalas for sport.

Not sure about that. But dem crazy Russians have a big hunger for the Qantas symbol - and once plague proportion-esque pest.

Kangaroo shooters are earning up to $1000 a night as a growing local appetite for the native meat spreads to European diners and Russian sausage makers.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:50 AM on March 7, 2007

I wonder...when was the exact point in time when QANTAS switched from being a "national icon" to being just another uncaring rip-off sleazy corporate.

Of course, maybe it's always been a rip-off sleazy corporate, and we just look back at the past with rose-coloured glasses - I think we tend to do that with air travel, look back on the supposed glory days, when inflight meals were bigger than a bar of soap.

Of course, maybe I'm just bitter that QANTAS has, in recent times, decimated Darwin-Adelaide flights - cut a pile of them, moved a stack more so the only flight of the day leaves Darwin at 2am and gets into Adelaide at 6am.

Fuck the Flying Kangaroo. Bring on Tiger Air.
posted by Jimbob at 2:05 AM on March 7, 2007

Jimbob: Did you mean Tiger Airways? You're just replacing with
posted by the cydonian at 2:58 AM on March 7, 2007

That's cool. Let's see what their prices and flight schedule looks like.
posted by Jimbob at 3:35 AM on March 7, 2007

(Also, if I recall, Optus has the Singapore Government as a major shareholder as well, and since they started in Australia, they've given the bohemeth that is Telstra a run for their money, and greatly improved telecommunications for Australians. Obviously, things could still be better. But I'd be just as happy for Telstra to die, if Optus can do things better.)
posted by Jimbob at 3:38 AM on March 7, 2007

(Optus == Singtel by another name)
posted by Jimbob at 3:39 AM on March 7, 2007

but who frenced qantas in the first place?
posted by quonsar at 3:56 AM on March 7, 2007

John Travolta flies a cool old Qantas 707.
posted by zsazsa at 5:17 AM on March 7, 2007

Nice. I love aviation history. So at least I learned that QANTAS stands for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited," which I didn't know. But perhaps someone can clear up another mystery for me. In the U.S., my sense is that most people pronounce the name like "Kwantas," not "Kantas," if you see what I mean. Is that the standard pronunciation in Australia, too?
posted by chinston at 5:25 AM on March 7, 2007

Aussies and their sinister friends call it Al-Qantas.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:39 AM on March 7, 2007

Ah, one of my top 5 hated airlines.
posted by i_cola at 5:42 AM on March 7, 2007

Yep, it's "Kwantas" in Australia. There should be a "u" in there after the "Q" except, as we can see, Qantas was originally an acronym without a "u" in it.
posted by Jimbob at 5:54 AM on March 7, 2007

QANTAS, despite the poster's abject lack of knowledge about everything ever, actually draws its name from the Yolngu peoples of Arnhem Land: the word means "this airline sucks ass".

Far superior in every respect was TAA: check out these hot hot babes. Are those babes not hot? They are NOT not hot, my friends. I'd like to squeeze into ailse 17 seat B with one of those happy-go-lucky sky-foxes sometime, and raise MY tray-table to an upright position while thinking about purchases I may wish to make from HER duty free selection, if you know what I mean.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:57 AM on March 7, 2007 [2 favorites]

Here in Japan it's pronounced "Kuntas". I usually use the Japanese pronunciation...

"uncaring rip-off sleazy corporate"

Very much so. But direct flights between Japan and Australia are rare enough (other airlines would like to do them but somehow can't) which doesn't leave a lot of choice.

And forget about flying directly to Adelaide from Tokyo. Choices are only to transfer between Sydney or Melbourne. Or to do it like I did when I went back one time - Adelaide -> Sydney -> miss connecting flight due to bad weather -> be put up in a hotel for 6 hours -> fly to Cairns -> wait 2 hours -> Tokyo.

And don't even get me onto having to get a hospital to fax Kuntas my mother's death certificate to them so I could get my 240,000 yen ticket changed so I could attend her funeral..... although my friend who travelled the day after me could change her much cheaper ticket with just one phone call....
posted by gomichild at 6:07 AM on March 7, 2007

Without Googling to verify... I believe Qantas has had no fatality. -- uncanny hengeman

Without googleing or even mousing over the link the very bit of text you quoted the URL was:
And the 8 refered to the number of fatal accidents.
posted by delmoi at 6:39 AM on March 7, 2007

Via the Travel Insider blog:
Last week I suggested that Qantas has never suffered a passenger fatality. Knowledgeable Australian reader Ben tells me that QF has indeed had passenger fatalities, and that the correctly qualified version of the original claim about its very high passenger safety record (made famous in the movie Rainman) should be 'Qantas has never had a passenger fatality on any of its passenger jets'.

Ben says, and unsurprisingly, that in its early pioneering days (Qantas being the second oldest airline, with only KLM being older) of providing bush air service in the 1920s Australian outback, it did indeed have some passenger fatalities, and there are contradictory stories about one other accident shortly after WW2 as well. I have however now checked a database of all air accidents that dates back to 1943 and there are no relevant Qantas entries in it, so I'm reasonably hopeful I won't be making another correction to this claim next week!
posted by etoile at 7:19 AM on March 7, 2007

BTW, I only found four pieces of Qantas ephemera on that linked page. More plz.
posted by etoile at 7:22 AM on March 7, 2007

Hey, if they were purchased by Ireland's carrier would they become Qantas-Lingus?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:24 AM on March 7, 2007

A good question, Baby_Balrog - a good question.

Personally I wonder - with reference to the discussion in this thread - whether our apparent inability to determine both the number of crashes AND the number of fatalities of this airline is actually a fundamental principle of QANTAS mechanics.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:10 AM on March 7, 2007

Do people understand how the takeover is going to work? In simple terms, they are borrowing lots and lots of money to but the airline, and will officially never make a profit again, so company taxes to the tune of billions will be turned into offshore interest payments.

How does Australia benefit from this. Not one bit.

And yet QANTAS still claims special status in being able to gouge passengers that wish to fly to the US (not allowed on except on QANTAS or United) and restricting flights to Melbourne when Sydney is at capacity.

Fucking arseholes. The only logical explanation is that they have the pollies so deep in their pockets that they can't see out. Peter Costello's family all got upgraded from economy to first class last year - he didn't declare this, Crikey found out. All pollies get access to the QANTAS club lounge whenever they want. QANTAS spends tens of millions a year in Canberra on 'corporate hospitality' (well the way Cabinet works these days it is like a corporation).
posted by wilful at 3:04 PM on March 7, 2007

Speaking of take-overs, I notice that quiddy and gomi have joined the monkey take-over of the Blue. GO TEAM!!
posted by coriolisdave at 3:48 PM on March 7, 2007

Gotta say, I quite like the handful of Qantas jets that have been painted all over in bright aboriginal art motifs.

I'm not so keen on the way the airline's advertising trades off images of happy aboriginal kiddies cavorting on beaches, when the situation for blackfellas in Australia is still very far from rosy.

quidnunc: you speak Yolngu Matha? my mob from up there that way.

posted by UbuRoivas at 4:34 PM on March 7, 2007


Sorry, just testing out that weird letter. It's how people up here tend to write it now days, and I think it's neat.
posted by Jimbob at 4:41 PM on March 7, 2007

My wife worked for these people for seven years. So from me, a very heartfelt

posted by Wolof at 7:01 PM on March 7, 2007

See, how clever am I, delmoi?

Far superior in every respect was TAA: check out these hot hot babes.

Hilarious post, the quidnunc kid. Reminds me of a song in my youth… Bart Simpson sang a version.

Jingle bells Batman smells
Robin ran away
Wonder Woman lost her bosom
Flying TAA

posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:28 PM on March 7, 2007

quidnunc: you speak Yolngu Matha? my mob from up there that way.

No - I can hardly speak the only language I write in! But I wish I knew something of the ancient and infinite speech(es) of the dreaming peoples, and that I could spend some time in that part of the north(-of-the-south).

uncanny hengeman: I think we sing that song together in the playground of our memories ...
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:29 AM on March 8, 2007

For the tribes who inhabited the western regions of The Shire, and whose diet consisted mainly of red-skins and karamallo koalas, the mythical hero-figure Robin had the power of flight, so the song was sung with the variant Robin flew away.

For the benefit of people unfamiliar with these legends, Batman and Wonder Woman were also mythical hero-figures, whilst the figure 'TAA' (pronounced tee-ay-ay) was a now extinct flock of giant silver birds, which the ancients could summon and control to fly from place to place, much as people these days ride horses & camels.

The reasons behind why Wonder Woman lost her bosom are lost in time, but scholars have speculated that this may have been another name for the goddess Kylie (kie-LEE), who had the power of magically enlarging her breasts when required, and perhaps also of having one or both of them disappear.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:08 PM on March 8, 2007

Dammit coriolisdave.... I guess this false mustache and glasses is pointless now....
posted by gomichild at 9:57 AM on March 10, 2007

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