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Australian aviation history

Australian aviation history

Australian aviation history

The history of aviation in Australia is very interesting. Especially if you are caring for an elderly loved one. Both men and women worked in the aviation industry. Today we mainly talk about Qantas, the national airline. However other well-known names operated in Australian aviation previously.

Trans Australia Airlines

Trans Australia Airlines began operations in 1946. Further, it was one of two major Australian domestic airlines. Furthermore it was renamed Australian airlines in 1986. Eventually, it merged with Qantas in September 1992. The entire airline was rebranded Qantas about a year later . Following that, a few years later, the airline was officially renamed Qantas Airways Limited. It was also changed from the appellation “The Spirit of Australia” to “The Australian Airline”.

TAA played a major part in developing the Australian domestic transport industry. Previously Australian National Airways had exerted a monopoly. However, TAA broke that monopoly in the late 1940s. They also took over the Queensland area network from Qantas. Furthermore they supported the flying Doctor services of Australia. They did this by providing aircraft, pilots and engineers. As a result, every emergency was answered quickly.

TAA became the first airline outside Europe to introduce the Vickers Viscount prop jet. Then, in 1981 it introduced the Airbus A300. Furthermore, this aircraft was the first wide-body aircraft purchased by an Australian domestic airline. Quite an achievement. As a result, the company held a clear edge over it’s major competitor at the time, Ansett Airlines.

Qantas revived the Australian Airlines brand between 2002 and 2006. The purpose was to service the low-cost leisure market of visitors to and from Australia. However, they did this using a full service model. The aircraft they used were Qantas 767–338ER’s. Nonetheless, the livery was changed for the purpose.

Ansett Airlines

Ansett Airlines was founded in February 1935 by Reg Ansett. At the time, Reg Ansett was operating a road transport business. However, the business was so successful it was deemed a threat to Victorian Railways freight and passenger revenue. As a result, the state government passed legislation to put private road transport operators out of business. Reg Ansett moved to counter this setback. He did this by establishing an airline. At this time aviation was under the control of the federal government.

Ansett Airlines had an aviation fleet of 138. The company’s headquarters were located in Melbourne Victoria. Furthermore they had hubs at Melbourne and Sydney airports. Additionally they had secondary hubs at Perth and Brisbane airports. Their focus cities were Adelaide, Cairns, Canberra and Hobart airports.  Furthermore, they flew to 288 destinations.

The Airline’s first route was between Hamilton and Melbourne. The plane was a Fokker Universal monoplane. Operation commenced on 17 February 1936. Moreover, the airline very quickly became successful. Additionally, Reg Ansett floated the business in 1937. Following this success, he expanded the network by importing Lockheed Electra aircraft.

With the advent of World War II, only the Hamilton Service route was maintained. The reason was more lucrative work for the United States Army Air Forces. See the link at:

However, after the war ended, Reg Ansett had to battle to re-establish his domestic routes. To do this, he used war surplus Douglas DC-3s. These planes were converted from C-47s and the remaining L-10s. Furthermore, the Australian domestic airline sector was dominated by a company called Australian National Airways. This airline was established in 1936 by a consortium of Australian shipowners. Also, they were financed with British money.

The federal government of the time wanted to establish a State-owned airline. The aim was to operate all domestic and international services. However they were unsuccessful in this bid which was rejected by the High Court of Australia. Following this the government established Trans Australia Airlines. Furthermore,  they operated in competition with Australian National Airways.

The airlines ceased operations in two tranches. Firstly on 30 September 2001 and on 4 March 2002.

Recommended reading and links:

This blog is intended to provide helpful advice. Please speak with your family GP for personalised information or, for specialist advice & support in Melbourne Australia, contact GOLD AGE AUSTRALIA on / 1800 GOLDAGE (1800 465 324) / Overseas Callers call +61 (03) 9836 9507

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