On July 29, 1959, a Qantas Boeing 707 took off from Sydney’s Kingsford Airport bound for London, New York and San Francisco via Nadi and Honolulu, becoming the first commercial transpacific flight operated by a jet airliner. Nowadays, the Australian flag carrier serves each destination with their own routes daily using its Airbus A380, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and iconic Boeing 747-400, the evolution of sixty years of jet flight down under.
In 1956, Qantas ordered seven Boeing 707s to replace its fleet of L1049 Super Constellation propeller aircraft, used on the airline’s Kangaroo Route between Sydney and London since 1947 and around the world flights since 1956. Nadi, Fiji was an important refueling stop on those flights after they departed Sydney and headed Northeast. When the newer four-engine Boeing 707s were ordered, Qantas had to work with Boeing to reduce ten feet off the cabin length to make the aircraft suitable for operations in Nadi’s short runway and hot climatic conditions.
The introduction of the Boeing 707, enabled Qantas to reduce the number of stops and significantly cut travel times on intercontinental services thanks to its longer range of up to 5,750 nautical miles and average speed of 570 miles per hour, inducing better connectivity between Australia and the world. By 1964, Qantas had 14 Boeing 707s in operation, jetting off to far off destinations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Sixty years later, following significant expansion in flights to the U.S
, Qantas serves San Francisco daily from Sydney using its iconic Boeing 747-400, an aircraft that has been pivotal to Qantas long haul expansion, though this time without the stop in Hawaii. The aircraft provided greater capacity than its Boeing 707 predecessor and a reduction in ticket prices, fostering connectivity and relationships between Australia and the rest of the world.