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TIMELINE-Australian airline Qantas turns 100 years old

SYDNEY, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Qantas Airways Ltd turned 100 years old on Monday, making it the world’s third-oldest airline behind Dutch carrier KLM and Colombia’s Avianca Holdings SA.

Here are some key moments for the Australian carrier.

Nov. 16, 1920 Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd (Qantas) was first registered as a business in Winton, Queensland with two aircraft.

1921 The airline began operating charter flights across Queensland in a biplane before introducing its first scheduled mail and passenger routes in 1922.

1938 Qantas began operating flying boats to Singapore taking off from Sydney’s first international airport on its harbour at Rose Bay. 1947 Qantas was nationalised and began operating flights from Australia all the way to London, known as the “Kangaroo route”. 1954 Queen Elizabeth flew on the airline during her Australian tour.

1959 The airline operated its first-ever trans-Pacific jet services from Australia to San Francisco on a Boeing Co 707. 1974 Qantas evacuated thousands of people from Darwin in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy.

1979 Qantas became the world’s only airline with a fleet of all Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

1987 The airline launched its first frequent flyer programme. 1993 The government privatised the then all-international Qantas, which was merged with domestic carrier Australian Airlines.

2004 Qantas launched low-cost carrier Jetstar. 2008 The airline introduced the first of 12 Airbus SE A380 super-jumbos to its fleet.

2011 Qantas’s management team grounded the entire airline temporarily due to an industrial dispute with unions. 2018 Qantas connected Australia and Europe with a non-stop flight for the first time, from Perth to London on a Boeing 787. 2019 The airline operated scientific research flights from Sydney non-stop to London and New York, in preparation for future routes. 2020 Qantas grounded the bulk of its fleet and stood down the majority of its staff due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. (Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)