We couldn’t let the 4th of July pass without giving a shout out to a big all American company that is about to celebrate a milestone of its own – Boeing.
The aircraft manufacturer is just about to turn 100 years old. That means they’ve been around since just after the dawn of powered flight in 1903. They’ve been supplying us with aircraft for almost 60 years and in that time we’ve ordered more than 200 planes including five different versions of the venerable Boeing 747.
Given Australia’s relative isolation to the rest of the world, we relied on Boeing to help us bridge the distances to the United States at the start of the jet age.
They even created a bespoke version of the Boeing 707 with more powerful engines allowing us to make the long haul across the Pacific from Sydney to San Francisco with a couple of stops in Fiji and Hawaii.
After that, we ordered the Boeing 747-200 and its smaller sibling the SP which was able to fly even longer distances. We were also the launch customer for the Boeing 747-400ER, which had extended range (including an extra fuel tank in forward cargo hold) allowing us to fly nonstop between Melbourne and Los Angeles.
Today we operate more than 100 Boeing aircraft across routes in outback Queensland, up into Asia, over the Pacific and across the Indian Ocean to South Africa. We even fly them over Antarctica.
The Boeing 737 is the workhorse of the domestic fleet and in 2014 we said a sad but fond farewell to the last of our Boeing 767s. (Fun fact: one of them has gone on to find new fame as the Google corporate jet.)
Our partnership continues as we prepare for the arrival of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner next year.
We have great relationships with all our aircraft manufacturing partners. But it’s rare for two businesses to have such a long history of working together.
This comes about partly because Qantas is the oldest continuously operating airline in the world, founded just five years after Boeing. But it’s also down to our shared commitment to innovation, performance and the highest standards of safety.
So on what is a special day for all our friends in the US of A, we thought we’d get in early and congratulate our mates at Boeing on their 100 year milestone.