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Qantas celebrates 50 years

Australian airline Qantas yesterday marked the 50 year anniversary of its first commercial passenger jet service across the Pacific Ocean.

The inaugural passenger jet flight was celebrated with a ceremony at Sydney International Terminal before the next Sydney-San Francisco service departed at 1.55pm.

On July 29 1959, flight EM774, operated by the new Boeing 707 aircraft, departed from Sydney airport bound for San Francisco in the United States, via Nadi and Honolulu.

Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said: "Qantas has a proud history on the Pacific route, having flown uninterrupted between Australia and the United States for 55 years.


"It's a long and challenging route. Other airlines have come and gone, but our commitment to providing air links between the two countries has never wavered.

"Today we remain the largest carrier on the Pacific, operating 43 return services every week from eastern Australia and from Auckland to the US cities of Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco and offering an extended network of 36 destinations across the USA available through our network partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines."

Mr Joyce was keen to stress that Qantas has been at the forefront of adopting new aviation technologies throughout its history. It was the first airline in the world to offer commercial passenger jet services across the Pacific and the first non-American airline to use Boeing jet aircraft.

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Written by: Maxine Clarke, July 30 2009