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Qantas turns 100 in its most challenging year yet

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Qantas has marked its 100th anniversary in one of the most challenging years the Flying Kangaroo has ever faced.

Beginning as a mail service for outback farmers, the country’s premier airline on Monday turned 100 years old and used the significant milestone to thank its past and present staff for connecting Australians to the world.

Qantas has been forced to significantly scale back its planned centenary celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic but will mark the milestone with a low-level flyover of the Sydney Harbour on Monday evening.

In light of the pandemic which has decimated the aviation industry, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the health crisis reaffirmed the values of the airline in always assisting Australians wherever they are in the world.

Captain William Byrnes has worked for Qantas for 50 of its 100 years. Picxture: Britta Campion / The Australian
media_cameraCaptain William Byrnes has worked for Qantas for 50 of its 100 years. Picxture: Britta Campion / The Australian

“Flying to help Australians in trouble is a core part of our identity as the national carrier,” Mr Joyce said.

“This year alone we’ve operated over 100 repatriation flights for the federal government to bring people home from COVID hot spots.”

All crews who have worked on COVID-19 repatriated flights were volunteers.

Qantas is the oldest operating airline in the world. It has assisted in disasters such as evacuating people in Darwin following Cyclone Tracey in 1974 and maintaining vital air links during the Second World War.

“Around the world, Qantas is probably best known for its safety record, endurance flying and long list of aviation firsts,” Mr Joyce said.

“But for Australians, there’s nothing quite like seeing the Flying Kangaroo at the airport waiting to take you home. We hope to be doing a lot more of that in the months and years ahead.”

Originally published as Airline’s low-key celebration of milestone

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