Australian Airlines
Australian Airlines Logo, June 2006.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Ceased operations30 June 2006[1]
HubsCairns International Airport
Secondary hubsSydney Airport
Frequent-flyer programQantas Frequent Flyer
Fleet size5
HeadquartersSydney, New South Wales, Australia (Qantas Group headquarters)
An Australian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER (VH-OGI) at Sydney Airport in 2005
An Australian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER (VH-OGI) at Sydney Airport in 2005

Australian Airlines was a full-service airline based in Australia, servicing Australian and Asian destinations between 2002 and 2006. It was an all-economy, full-service international leisure carrier, and was a wholly owned subsidiary of Qantas (although run independently of the mainline carrier). Its main base was at Cairns International Airport, with a secondary hub at Sydney Airport.

The airline ceased operations under its own livery on 30 June 2006,[1] but continued to operate flights for Qantas under a wet lease agreement. This means Australian Airlines operated flights for Qantas using its own crew/cost base, but under the Qantas brand. Qantas decided to discontinue the public use of the Australian Airlines brand in favour of having Jetstar Airways as its leisure, now low-cost, carrier. Qantas and Jetstar are operating services to replace Australian Airlines' routes, with Jetstar International introduced in late 2006 to help expand the Qantas Group's international presence.


The airline was established in 2001 and started operations on 27 October 2002, reusing the name Qantas gained when it acquired former Australian domestic carrier Australian Airlines in September 1992.[2] Its initial network of flights concentrated on leisure tourism between Queensland and Japan. Subsequent expansion brought on other leisure destinations throughout Southeast Asia. On 12 April 2006 Geoff Dixon, CEO of the Qantas Group, announced that the group would be focusing on a two-brand strategy, the Qantas and Jetstar brands, and as such the Australian Airlines brand would cease to exist from July 2006.

The airline's aircraft were re-painted back into the Qantas livery and returned to Qantas short-haul for use on their domestic and trans-Tasman routes. Alternative Boeing 767-300 aircraft (in Qantas two-class configuration) were supplied to Australian Airlines by Qantas, for them to operate under a wet lease agreement in the interim. Australian Airlines continued to operate under this agreement, servicing several routes to Japan including twice-daily flights to Tokyo-Narita Airport, and also flights to Manila-NAIA Airport in the Philippines.

During April 2006, Qantas confirmed that, in order to focus on its two-brand strategy of Qantas and Jetstar, the Group had decided that it would abandon Australian Airlines.[3][4] On 30 June 2006, Australian Airlines ceased to exist, with the airline's Boeing 767-300s and crew to still provide services from Cairns under the Qantas brand.[1]: 11  The following day, the airline's fleet was absorbed into Qantas's mainline fleet.[5] The parent company closed down the Australian Airlines operation completely at the end of August 2007.

Financial performance

Australian Airlines Operating Highlights[1]: 143 
Year Passengers
Load factor
2003 272 1,538 2,602 59.1
2004 Increase705 Increase3,485 Increase5,148 Increase67.7
2005 Increase812 Increase3,906 Increase5,646 Increase69.2
2006 Decrease705 Decrease3,553 Decrease5,257 Decrease67.6


An Australian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER at Hong Kong International Airport in 2005.
An Australian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER at Hong Kong International Airport in 2005.

At the time before it ceased operations, Australian Airlines operated scheduled services to the following destinations:

Note 1 Suspended prior to ceasing operations


In August 2006, the Australian Airlines fleet consisted of five Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Attention to Detail, Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Qantas. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  2. ^ Qantas - Expanding Overseas...and at Home
  3. ^ "Qantas and Jetstar to lead the way - Australian Airlines to be scrapped". 12 April 2006. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  4. ^ "Qantas scraps its budget carrier Australian Airlines". The Star Online. 11 April 2006. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  5. ^ Hogg, Andrew. "National University Finance & Procurement Conference 2006". Qantas. Archived from the original on 21 February 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  6. ^ Flight International, 3–9 October 2006