As flagged in our print edition earlier this year, Australian carrier Qantas is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its iconic Kangaroo Route between London and Sydney this week.

The first flight took off from Sydney on December 1, 1947, arriving into London nearly four days later, via refueling stops in Darwin, Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo, Castel Benito and Rome.

The service was operated by Lockheed 749 Constellation aircraft ‘Charles Kingsford Smith’, and carried 29 passengers, 11 crew members, and 2,000 lbs of food parcels. A one-way fare for the flight cost £325.

Commenting on the anniversary a Qantas spokesperson said:

“The Kangaroo Route has been central to the Qantas identity since we launched the service 70 years ago. What used to take seven stops onboard a Lockheed Constellation and Super Constellation in the 1940s and 50s, later progressed to the one stopover when the 747 and A380 joined the fleet.”

In March next year Qantas will inaugurate its first nonstop service between London and Perth, and the carrier recently challenged Airbus and Boeing to produce aircraft which would make future 20-hour flights viable.

“The single, nonstop hop was a dream for the Qantas founders in outback Queensland in 1920; and we’re proud that we can make their dream come true,” said the Qantas spokesperson.

“As we prepare for our first non-stop 787-9 services between Perth and London in March 2018, it’s a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come. The single hop from Australia to Europe is another milestone for Qantas and marks the first time the two continents have been directly linked by air.

“Looking beyond our non-stop Perth – London flights, we’re also exploring the opportunity that ultra-long-haul travel brings, and we’ve challenged both Airbus and Boeing to develop an aircraft capable of travelling to London from the east-coast of Australia. They have both stepped up to the challenge and are confident they can deliver aircraft capable of flying these distances by 2022.”