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Qantas celebrates 60th anniversary of “kangaroo route”

5 Dec 2007 by Mark Caswell
Australian national carrier Qantas is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its famous “kangaroo route” – the first time a single carrier flew from Australia to the UK. The 93-hour journey (55 hours of which was spent in the air) took off from Sydney on December 1, 1947 and touched down in London 60 years ago to the day (December 5). The flight “hopped” between the two cities via Darwin, Singapore (with an overnight stay), Kolkata (then Calcutta), Karachi, Cairo (overnight) and Tripoli, with 29 passengers and 11 crew being transported in the Lockheed Constellation Charles Kingsford Smith aircraft. Since then Qantas has reduced the flight time between Australia and the UK to just over 20 hours with only one stop. The relative cost of the flight has tumbled as well – back in 1947 a return fare would have cost the average person the equivalent of more than two years’ wages – now it’s closer to two weeks. Speaking at celebrations to mark the anniversary, Geoff Dixon, CEO of Qantas, said the flight had signalled the start of the “democratisation of flying”. He added that the airline, a launch customer of the Airbus A380, hoped to have the superjumbo in service between Sydney/Melbourne and LA by August 2008, with the Sydney to London route following by February 2009. Qantas will also introduce its new premium economy seating next year on board selected Boeing 747-400 aircraft. (See online news November 14.) For more information visit qantas.com.au. Report by Mark Caswell Do you have memories of the Qantas “kangaroo route” that you’d like to share? Simply log in and post your comments below.
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