TAA's Growth through the years.
There have been many milestones in the TAA's history, some of them Australian firsts. Here are a few:
1946 • The Australian National Airlines Commission (ANAC) - the Government appointed "board of directors" - which runs TAA, met for the first time in February, 1946.
• The first TAA service took three hours five minutes to fly from Laverton Air Force Base near Melbourne to Sydney, on September 9, 1946, with 21 passengers on board. Essendon Airport was closed at the time. This was a once daily service DC3 service
• The airline became national in December 1946, when its first service was flown to Perth, completing the inter-capital city network.
1947 • TAA's first all cargo flights commenced in April, 1947.• The airline, in August 1947, adopted the advertising slogan "Fly TAA the Friendly Way". and had fifty-eight flights a day by December
1948 • The Convair 240, which joined the TAA fleet in September 1948, was the first pressurised airliner to operate in Australia.
1949 • TAA's network had grown to such an extent that in April 1949, TAA was able to claim that it had the longest unduplicated network of any purely domestic airline in the world with a total of 21,843 kilometres.
• In August 1949 TAA carried its one millionth passenger.
1950 • White painted tops for the TAA aircraft were introduced in October, along with Melbourne - Perth direct and Melbourne - Brisbane direct "Rocket" flights.
1951 • Two Millionth passenger carried in May, and in June a big airlift to Commonwealth Jubilee celebrations in Canberra.
1952 • Direct Sydney - Hobart flights for the summer season. In August TAA placed orders for the first Vicount prop-jet aircraft.
1953 • Convairs carried their millionth passenger, and held 13 speed records.
1954 • Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh made six flights on TAA aircraft during the 1954 Royal Tour of Australia.
• TAA introduced the first turbine powered airliner to Australia, the Viscount, which entered services in December 1954.
1955 • Tourist-class (Economy class) air travel was introduced to Australia in October 1955. The Five-millionth passenger was carried in November.
1956 • TAA operated Australia's first commercial helicopter service in April, 1956, and the first prop-jet Friendship Aircraft were ordered.
• TAA took part in the huge airlift to Melbourne for the 1956 Olympics in November.
1957 • In February TAA applied big extensions to Tourist-class flights and in December these were extended to Perth.
1958 • Lockheed Electra prop-jet aircraft were ordered in June and TAA's Vicounts world's first to reach 10,000 flying hours.
• December 1958, weather avoidance radar was installed on TAA aircraft for the first time.
1959 • In February TAA is the first Australian airline to win the Cumberbatch Trophy.
• The first Friendship flights took place in March, and the First Electra aircraft arrived in June, and the Eight-millionth passenger flew in July.
1960 • TAA became the first Australian airline to carry a million passengers in 12 months to April. 1960 also saw the airline commence services to Papua New Guinea in July. TAA was to remain in Papua New Guinea until November 1974 when operations were handed over to the new national carrier Air Niugini.
The Melbourne Heliport opened in December 1960.
1961 • The Ten-millionth passenger was carried in June. TAA Electras completed higher-speed modifications in June.
1962 • New Passenger terminals opened in Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin Perth and other ports. There was a big airlift to the Commonwealth Games in Perth.
1963 • Contract signed for the first two pure jet Boeing 727's. Pilots went "back to school" to learn new techniques for entry into the jet age.
1964 • Australian domestic airline services entered the jet age with the arrival of the Boeing 727-100 in November 1964.
1967 • The first Douglas DC9 joined the fleet in March 1967.
• The Redifon Boeing 727-100 flight simulator was installed in the new flight training centre at Essendon in May 1967 and a DC9 simulator arrived in October 1968.
1972 • TAARSAN (TAA Reservations System Automatic Network) went into operation in 1972 and has provided a highly efficient reservations service for TAA travellers. It was designed to adapt to Australian conditions and was modified to give information on arrival and departure times, interstate weather conditions, the availability of hotel rooms, tours and coaches and to process automatically, hotel and rent-a-car reservations. The computers supporting TAARSAN were handling more than 200,000 transactions a day.
1973 • TAA bought its first Boeing 727-200 seating 151 passengers which went into service in March.
1974 • TAA answered the call when Darwin was devastated by Cyclone Tracy. A Fokker Friendship operated one of the first relief flights out of Darwin and in four days from December 26 to 29, TAA mounted 18 flights which brought 4,000 people out of Darwin.
1975 • TAA became the first Australian domestic airline to carry more than four million passengers in a year. The average passenger flight stage was 829 kilometres.
1979 • TAA announced it would buy four Airbus Industrie A300s the first to arrive in 1981.
1980 • Five million passengers travelled TAA in just one year, (1980) a first for any Australian domestic airline.
• TAA adopted a new look. Ten years had passed since TAA had changed its colours. It adopted a refreshing, stylised logo with the more intense colours of royal blue and gold.
• In December, TAA began operating a service between Hobart and Christchurch, New Zealand.
1981 • In July TAA took delivery of its first A300 and announced that it would take up it's fifth option on the A300.
1982 • The INS (Inertial Navigation System) was installed in all 12 Boeing 727 aircraft in the fleet during 1982.
• Three milestones for the A300 occurred in 1982, the aircraft carried its one millionth passenger, it began operating to the Gold Coast, and the fourth A300 was delivered.
1983 • Business class was introduced to all jet aircraft in the fleet.
• In December the fifth A300 was delivered.
1986 • The airline changed its name to Australian Airlines and reintroduced the kangaroo on the aircraft.
• Boeing 737 - 300 Aircraft were introduced to replace the aging DC-9 and Boeing 727 aircraft.
1993 • Australian Airlines and Qantas finally merged and the traditions and era of TAA came to an end.