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This Day in History

Australian History

Wednesday, April 17, 1935. :   Australian airline Qantas operates its first overseas passenger flight.

     Qantas is the name of Australia's original airline service. The name Qantas was formerly an acronym for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Qantas was founded in Queensland on 16 November 1920, and operated air mail services subsidized by the Australian government, linking railheads in western Queensland. In 1934, QANTAS Limited and Britain's Imperial Airways, forerunner of British Airways, formed a new company, Qantas Empire Airways Limited. QEA commenced services between Brisbane and Singapore using deHavilland DH-86 Commonwealth Airliners. On 17 April 1935, the first overseas passenger flight from Brisbane to Singapore was operated in a journey which took four days.

Most of the QEA fleet was taken over by the Australian government for war service between 1939 and 1945, and many of these aircraft were lost in action. After the war, QEA experienced severe financial losses, and the airline was taken over by the government under Labor Prime Minister Ben Chifley. In 1967, the name was changed to Qantas Airways Limited.

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