Clicking on the plus (+) sign will reveal information for that period. Clicking on the minus (-) sign will close the period.

Last updated: 21 August 2015

Date Event
12 November 1884

Lawrence Hargrave demonstrated that four kites attached to one rope could lift him off the ground at Stanwell Park Beach, New South Wales

Date Event
17 March 1910

First powered flight in Australia by Fred Constance who flew some 5 kilometres at Bolivar near Adelaide South Australia.

18 March 1910

Second powered flight in Australia at Diggers Rest, Victoria, in a Voisin Biplane by Harry Houdini.

16 July 1910

John Duigan was the first Australian to design a successful aeroplane with a successful flight on his family grazing property near Mia Mia, Victoria


C.P. Rogers flew from New York USA to Los Angeles USA in 7 weeks.


Formation of the Australian Flying Corps with the newly formed ‘Central Flying School’ located at Point Cook, Victoria.


First commercial aviation flight in the world when 3,000 people gathered at the waterside in St Petersberg Florida USA for the flight to Tampa Florida USA. The former St. Petersberg Mayor, A.C. Pheil, bid $400 for the privilage of being the first passenger on the 23 minute flight.

July 1914

Maurice Guilleaux carried Australia’s first airmail from Melbourne to Sydney.

Date Event

The Australian Government called for tenders for 4 airmail route services; Geraldton Western Australia to Derby Western Australia, from Charleville Queensland to Cloncurry Queendland, from Sydney to Adelaide, and from Sydney to Brisbane.

16 November 1920

The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service (Q.A.N.T.A.S.) was founded by Hudson Fysh, Paul McGuiness, and Fergus McMaster.

2 December 1920

The Australian Government introduced the Air Navigation Act of 1920 which introduced the establishment of the Civil Aviation Branch overseen by the Controller of Civil Aviation and administered by the Department of Defence.


First air traffic contoller employed at London Great Britain.

January 1921

The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service (Q.A.N.T.A.S.) took delivery of its first aircraft an Avro 504K.

28 March 1921

The Department of Civil Aviation Branch was formed.

5 December 1921

Western Australian Airways Ltd established at Geraldton, Western Australia and operated the first regular airmail service in Australia with the Geraldton to Derby route in Western Australia flying 2,028 kilometres (1,260 miles) along the west coast of Australia via Carnarvon, Onslow, Roebourne, Port Hedland and Broome weekly as a return trip passenger, mail and parcels service.

2 November 1922

The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service (Q.A.N.T.A.S.) commenced the scheduled airmail service from Charleville to Cloncurry.

2 June 1924

Australian Aerial Services Ltd commenced the weekly return airmail service Adelaide to Sydney via Cootamundra, Narrandera, Hay and Mildura

Date Event
January 1930

Charles Kingsford Smith establised the Australian National Airways (ANA).


George A Robinson founded New England Airways (N.E.A.L.) and began a bi-weekly Lismore-Archerfield (Brisbane) service, later extended to a Lismore-Mascot (Sydney) service, thus creating a Brisbane – Sydney service.

31 March 1931

Australia’s first major aviation disaster when an Australian National Airways (ANA) Avro 10 aeroplane “Southern Cloud” crashed in the Snowy Mountains with loss of all passengers and crew. The wreck was not found till 1958.


The Holyman family founded Holymans Airways with services between Launceston Tas and Melbourne Vic using a DH84 Dragon, DH86 Rapides and later DC2’s.


The AIM Aerial Medical Service became the Australian Aerial Medical Service opening up “Sections” across Australia. Bases were set up in Wyndham, Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie, Broken Hill, Alice Springs and Meekatharra.


Cecil Butler formed Butler Air Transport to provide passenger and mail services in New South Wales and Southern Queensland.

April 1934

Experimental airmail Service between Australia and Britain. The outward leg was unsuccessful as the Imperial Airways DH66 taking the mail from Karachi to Darwin crashed at Kupang in Dutch Timor. The return leg went smoothly with Q.A.N.T.A.S. carrying the mail from Brisbane to Darwin, Charles Kingsford Smith from Darwin to Akyab in Burma, and Imperial Airways taking it from Akyab to London via India.

October 1934

MacRobertson-Miller Aviation transferred its main base to Perth, W.A., after it won the Commonwealth Government’s contract for North-West services.

December 1934

First regular airmail Service between Australia and Britain with Imperial Airways taking the mail from Darwin to England via Singapore and India. The Australian Commonwealth Government divided the Australian end of the service with the eastern end Darwin NT, to Brisbane Qld and on to Cootamundra NSW and the western end Katherine NT to Perth WA.

October 1934

The last great pioneering air race held between London UK and Melbourne Australia via compulsory stops at Baghdad, Allahbad, Singapore and Darwin.

Date Event

The Australian Aerial Medical Service changed its name to the Flying Doctor Service.


The Australian Department of Civil Aviation released its post-war Reorganization: Proposal Outline of a Plan for Civil Aviation. This document contained the first inklings of what would become known as the two-airline policy., where the Australian domestic aviation industry would be dominated by one government and one private airline, with local routes remaining the preserve of independent entrepreneurs.

Date Event

Bush Pilots Airways was formed and operated in Queensland, Australia.


Trans-Australian Airlines (TAA) introduces Australia’s first turboprop aircraft, the Vickers Viscount 700.


Max Hazelton commences Hazelton Air Services Pty Limited with a single Auster Aiglet aircraft offering charter services his brother-inlaws property near Toogong, New South Wales.

End 1953

Qantas moved into the trans-Pacific market with the acuisition of British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines.


Max Hazelton and his Auster are caught in bad weather crashing near Oberon NSW. Max survived the crash and walked 100km through heavy bush over 6 days to civilisation.

Date Event
17 January 1960

Guinea Airways became Airlines of South Australia (ASA) after a successful takeover by Ansett Transport Industries on 1 July 1959.


Carnarvon Air Taxis established flying charter flights with small general aviation aircraft out of Carnarvon, Western Australia.


Rossair Charter Commenced brovidng charter services from Adelaide South Australia.

1 June 1963

MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd. was renamed MacRobertson Miller Airline Services & became a division of Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty. Ltd.


Macknight airlines commenced by John Macknight.

October 1964

Ansett began flying domestic services with jet aircraft, using the first of many Boeing 727’s imported into Australia, following a “toss of the coin” between Reg Ansett and the General Manager of TAA for the honour.

Date Event

Macknight Airlines commence a regular public transport service between Deniliquin, NSW and Wagga Wagga.


Premiair Aviation changed its name to Kendell Airlines which coincided with the launch of scheduled services using Piper PA-31 Navajo aircraft between Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.


Masling Commuter Air Services begin operations providing services from Cootamundra, NSW.


Air Link was formed as an aircraft charter operation based in Dubbo, NSW

1 July 1971

Aeropelican Air Services commence services.


Corporate Air commenced providing charter and freight services from Canberra ACT.

May 1972

Bush Pilots absorbed Queensland Pacific Airways Ltd, taking over its Douglas DC-3 aircraft.


O’Connor Airlines commneced operations at Mount Gambier as a one-aeroplane flight school.


Operations of Ansett Flying Boat Services ceased when the Lord Howe Island Airport was completed


Chartair commenced providing charter services from Darwin Northern Territory.

Date Event

Skywest Aviation changed to Skywest Airlines and based itself at Perth Airport. It acquired Stillwell Airlines and its routes; the combined fleet included 39 aircraft, making it the second largest commuter airline in Australia at the time.


Aeropelican Air Services sold to Masling Commuter Services, a company associated Ansett Australia.


Airnorth commence scheduled services.


Ansett reverted Ansett Airlines of SA (AASA) back to the original name Airlines of South Australia.

1 December 1981

BPA became Air Queensland. Air Queensland was the last airline in Australia to use Douglas DC-3s on regular scheduled services, the last being withdrawn on 7 April 1988.

December 1981

Businessman Bevan Whitaker set up a second airline, Sunstate, serving intrastate routes in Queensland vacated by Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) with Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante aircraft.


Skywest Airlines merged with TransWest Airlines. At the time Skywest operated 16 aircraft and TransWest 25 aircraft.


East-West Airlines aquired by East-West Development Pty Ltd which had been formed by Bryan Grey and Duke Minks.


McDermott Aviation establised at Cooroy Queensland providing heli-aviation services.


Augusta Airways commenced operations.

27th of March 1983

Masling Commuter Air Services ceased operations.

December 1983

East-West Airlines aquired by Skywest Airlines and retained as an independent entity.


Pel-Air Aviation is established and in 1985 acquires its first Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Westwind aircraft.


Hinterland Aviation established in Cairns Queensland as a charter operation servicing the mining industry.

1 January 1984

Noosa Air and Sunstate fully merged and all flights were conducted under the Sunstate name as part of TAA’s Queensland network.

Date Event

Compass Airlines was set up by Bryan Grey (eventually known as Compass MkI) and was Australia’s first low cost airline.


Kendell Airlines become a wholly owned subsiduary of Ansett Australia.


Skippers Aviation commenced operation in 1990, operating a fleet of three Cessna Conquest turbo prop aircraft and one Cessna 402C from the Flight Centre facility at the Perth domestic airport Western Australia.


Sharp Aviation commenced operation in 1990 using the venerable Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain.


Golden Eagle Aviation commenced operations as a charter operation at Port Hedland Western Australia.


Flinders Island Airways cease services.

October 1990

David and Sue Barnard establish Skytrans Airlines as a charter airline.

October 1990

Australian Airlines become the outright owner of Sunstate Airlines and Sunstate Airlines (Mildura).

December 1990

Seair Pacific aquired by Peter Gash and Julie Gash starting with one Cessna 206 and a seaplane base at Runaway Bay, Queensland.


John Macknight sells the regular public transport operations of Macknight Airlines.


Basair Aviation Colleage commenced operations.


Compass Airlines collapsed little more than a year after its first flight, with the reasons being portrayed as undercapitalisation, sustained fare discounting by its competitors and failing to make use of its potential to also carry freight. However, Compass maintained that the Federal Government made it extremely difficult for the new airline to succeed, as evidenced by the lack of suitable facilities provided to Compass.


Air Link commenced regular regional airline services across western New South Wales.


John and Marie Hardy founded Hardy Aviation to provide air services to the Murin Association of Port Keats and also chater services.


Southern Cross Airlines commenced operations trading as Compass Airlines (eventually known as Compass MkII) with three McDonnell Douglas MD82 and two McDonnell Douglas MD83 aircraft.


Complete Aviation Services (known as Casair) commenced operations in Perth Western Australia providing air charter and freight services.


McKinlay Air Charters established by the Collings family commence operations based in Townsville Queensland operating charter.


Air South commenced operations offering charter flights from Adelaide South Australia.


Hinterland Aviation aquired by retail travel firm Trailfinders.

1 January 1992

Australian Airlines rebrands Sunstate Airlines (Mildura) as Southern Australia Airlines.

14 September 1992

Qantas aquires Australian Airlines

18 December 1992

Impulse Airlines, formed by the McGowan family, commences operations.


Skytrans Airlines commence scheduled flights.


Southern Cross Airlines trading as Compass Airlines collapsed. Southern Cross chairman Douglas Reid was convicted in 1997 of theft and false accounting amounting to $10 million in relation to the collapse.

March 1993

The Australian Federal Government privatised Qantas with British Airways taking a 25% stake in the airline for A$665 million.

11 September 1993

Ansett commenced international service to Bali.

1 October 1993

Sunstate Airlines absorbed Australian Regional Airlines, taking over its fleet and routes.


Ansett commenced international service to Osaka, Japan and Hong Kong.


Brindabella Airlines is establised by Jeff Boyd as an air charter and aircraft hire service, with an affiliated aircraft maintenance business.


Impulse Airlines aquires Impulse Transportation Group of Port Macquarie and commences regional airline services.

30 April 1994

Qantas closes Australian Airlines absorbing all it operations and assets under the Qantas brand.

Date Event

Peter Collings commences the operations of West Wing Aviation to cater for smaller commute services in Northern Queensland.


Brindabella Airlines added a flight training school to its operations.


British businessman Richard Branson establishes Virgin Blue Airlines, as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Virgin Group, with with two Boeing 737-400 aircraft offering seven return flights a day between Brisbane and Sydney.

February 2000

Air New Zealand acquired full ownership of Ansett, buying out News Corporation’s stake for A$680 million.

May 2000

The Collings family sold McKinlay Air Charters to Transjet, owner of Transtates Airlines. The 2 brands were merged as MacAir Airlines.

03 May 2000

The Australian Federal Government changed the rules to allow foreign airlines to fly domestic routes when the Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill 2000 received assent.

November 2000

Skytrans Airlines absorbed AirSwift Aviation


Hazelton Airlines becomes a wholly owned subsiduary of Ansett Australia.


Sunstate, Southern Australia, Eastern Australia Airlines, Impulse Airlines, and National Jet Systems Airlink operation were rebranded as QantasLink, though each entity retained a certain amount of independence.

19 June 2001

Flight West Airlines went into voluntary liquidation and its assets sold to Queensland Aviation Holdings who subsequently established Alliance Airlines. Alliance commenced operations with two Fokker 100 and two Embraer EMB120 Brasilias aircraft servicing two FIFO contracts.

November 2001

McGowan family sell Impulse Airlines to Qantas.

12 September 2001

Air New Zealand placed the Ansett group of companies into voluntary administration with Price Waterhouse Coopers.

1 October 2001

Ansett resumed limited services between major cities utilising only the Airbus A320 fleet after receiving a federal government guarantee.


Skippers Aviation commence scheduled regular public transport services taking up routes in Western Australia lost due to the Ansett collapse.

May 2001

Regional Pacific Airlines, based at Queensland, was established and started operations in May 2001 and operated scheduled services from Horn Island in Queensland.

November 2001

Ansett creditors voted to allow the Tesna consortium, led by Melbourne businessmen Solomon Lew and Lindsay Fox, to purchase Ansett’s mainline assets.


Australian Aviation Holdings established Queensland Regional Airlines with operations commencing in 2003.

27 February 2002

Skywest Airlines purchased by private investors from the Ansett assets.

27 February 2002

Fox and Lew had withdrawn their bid resulting in the agreement with Ansett’s administrators collapsing.

4 March 2002

Flights operated by the Ansett Australia Group ceased from midnight with the appointment of administrators (under Deed of Company Arrangement) of the Ansett Australia Group.

April 2002

Aeropelican acquired by International Air Parts from the Ansett administrator.

August 2002

Regional Express (Rex) established when the Australiawide Airlines consortium acquired Hazelton Airlines and Kendell Airlines (subsidiaries of Ansett Airlines), merged the two companies, and started operations. Rex commenced with a fleet of 29 SAAB 340 and Metro 23 turboprop aircraft.

October 2002

Qantas revived the Australian Airlines brand as a full-service carrier, targeting the low-cost leisure market and flying primarily out of Cairns and Bali.


Inland Pacific Airlines, owned by Australian Aviation Holdings, commenced operations from Garbutt, Queensland.

20 June 2003

Brindabella Airlines commenced scheduled regional airline services.

October 2003

Airnorth acquired the assets of Airlines of South Australia (ASA).

October 2003

The Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2003 was introduced to implement, amongst other things, governance reforms including the abolition of the Civil Aviation Safety (CASA) Board.

November 2003

MacAir Airlines aquire Horizon Airlines.


Skywest Airlines taken over by Singapore based investment company CaptiveVision Capital which in turn is a subsidiary of ASX and London Stock Exchange AIM market-quoted Skywest Airlines.


Peter Vincent commenced Vincent Aviation (Australia) Pty Ltd as a charter operation operating from Darwin Airport Northern Territory.


Big Sky Express was establised and commenced operations as an Australian community airline operating scheduled domestic passenger services in the north western part of New South Wales.


HeavyLift Cargo Airlines commences operations offering scheduled and charter cargo services.

March 2004

Airnorth acquired the assets of Emu Airways

24 May 2004

Impulse Airlines ceased operations and was used as a vehicle upon which Qantas’ low-cost airline Jetstar was launched.

25 May 2004

Jetstar Airways, Qantas’ low-cost airline, started operations trading as Jetstar.

Date Event

Great Western Aviation cease operations

29 June 2010

Regional Pacific Airlines went into administration and all business and flight operations were stopped.

July 2010

Brindabella Airlines closed their flight training school.


Brindabella Airlines sold to Business Air Holdings Pty Ltd.


JetGo Australia Holdings Pty Ltd establish JETGO Australia

10 January 2011

Virgin Blue established a 10-year alliance under which Skywest would operate up to 18 turboprops in Virgins colours.

February 2011

Network Aviation became a wholly owned subsiduary of Qantas.

4 May 2011

Virgin Blue revealed its new name, Virgin Australia, as well as its new livery.

24 December 2011

The Norfolk Island Government decided to withdraw from the airline business with the final flight of Norfolk Air on the 26 February 2012.

3 February 2012

Tasair placed in voluntary liquidation.

17 February 2012

Strategic Airlines Pty Ltd trading as Air Australia Airways was placed into voluntary administration and into liquidation on 23 March 2012.

March 2012

JETGO Australia commence commercial operations using 37-seat Embraer 135 providing FIFO and charter services.

April 2012

Virgin Australia Holdings purchased 10% of Skywest Airlines.


The operations of Aeropelican Air Services and Brindabella Airlines were integrated under the Brindabella name by Business Air Holdings Pty Ltd.

11 April 2013

Virgin Australia Holdings completed its 100% acquisition of Skywest Airlines. From 7 May 2013 the use of the Skywest brand was discontinued and the airline became part of the Virgin Australia brand.

July 2013

Virgin Australia Holdings takes a 60% holding of Tiger Airways Australia after the airline had changed it name to Tigerair Australia.

November 2013

Rossair Charter merged with Air South.

December 2013

Brindabella Airlines was placed into receivership.


Pionair Australia changes to Skyforce Aviation.

28 May 2014

Vincent Aviation (Australia) placed into receivership with the parent company in New Zealand being placed into receivership on 24 October 2014.

1 July 2014

The Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 was repealed and replaced with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. Consequential and transitional arrangements will also apply to the Civil Aviation Act 1988.

19 August 2014

Golden Eagle Aviation Pty Ltd trading as Golden Eagle Airlines placed into liquidation.

October 2014

JETGO Australia commence regular scheduled services focusing on routes in Queensland and regional New South Wales.

17 October 2014

Tigerair Australia becomes a wholly owned subsiduary of Virgin Australia Holdings.

Date Event
17 December 1903

First flight of the Wright Brothers in Kittyhawk North Carolina, USA.

25 July 1909

Louis Bleriot flew across the English Channel from Calais to Dover in 37 Minutes.


Australian Commonwealth Government offered a 5,000 pound prize to the Australian inventor who could produce an aeroplane suitable for military purposes. The prize was never awarded.

Date Event
29 August 1916

Official opening of the State Aviation School at Richmond New South Wales by the NSW Governor, Sir Gerald Strickland.

October 1919

Australia became a signatory to the International Convention for the Regulation of Aerial Navigation (Paris Convention). This determined the principles of the sovereignty of airspace relating to a country’s territories. The convention came into force in Australia on 1 June 1922.

19 November 1919

First flight from Australia’s first civil aviation aerodrome developed by Nigel Love at Mascot New South Wales. The property was leased from the Kensington Racing Club. The site was chosen as it was far enough away from Sydney yet seperated from it by an industrial area. Love’s company went into voluntary liquidation in 1923 with the expiration of Love’s leases.

Date Event
26 August 1926

Q.A.N.T.A.S.’s first of seven own built aeroplanes, all DH50 biplanes built under license from their designer English company de Havilland, was christened by Lady Stonehave, wife of the Governor General.

June 1927

Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm flew a round Australia circuit in 10 days 5 hours.

4th November 1927

Guinea Airways formed by an Australian venture to transport freight from Lae to Wau in the New Guninea goldfields. The airline brought heavy junkers W31 and W34 aeroplanes from Germany. During the next few years the company was to become the world’s leading freight operator, carrying huge loads by 1930 standards, including complete motor cars.

Late 1927

MacRobertson Miller Aviation was established. The airline’s initial services were between Adelaide and Broken Hill.

February 1928

Bert Hinkler made the first ever solo flight from England to Australia in an Avro Avian G-EBOV over fifteen days

15 April 1928

George Wilkins from Hallett South Australia made the first flight over the Artic from Alaska USA to Spitsbergen Norway

15 May 1928

The Reverend John Flynn established the Australian Inland Mission (AIM) Aerial Medical Service a 1-year experiment based in Cloncurry, Queensland. This experiment later became the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

June 1928

Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm flew from Oakland California USA to Brisbane Australia in 10 days (83 hours 38 minutes flying time) in a 3 engine Fokker named Southern Cross.


Herbert Joseph Larkin established the Larkin Aircraft Supply Co (LASCO) that designed and built Australia’s first all metal aircraft, the Lascoter. LASCO was put into liqidation in 1934 due to the failure of Larkin’s airlines.

Date Event

New England Airways absorbed into a new group called Airlines of Australia that had acquired other airline assets including those of Murray Valley Aviation as well as Australian National Airlines’ (the airline founded by Charles Kingsford Smith) Mascot hangar and workshop and one of its planes.

3 July 1935

Adelaide Airways Ltd. was formed as a subsidiary of the Adelaide Steamship Co. Ltd. and commenced operations on 29 October.

17 February 1936

Reginald Miles Ansett brought a 6 seater Fokker Universal aeroplane and began flights between Melbourne Victoria and Hamilton Victoria starting the operations of Ansett Airways Ltd.

7 April 1936

The Australian Commonwealth Governments new Civil Aviation Board was gazetted and consisted of 4 members: The Controller General of Civil Aviation (policy, legislation, international and development); the Controller of Operations (air transport, aero clubs, licences and certificates, communications and meteorlogical); the Controller of Ground Operations (including airports); and the Finance member. The board was to assume the responsibilities of the Controller of Civil Aviation.

12 June 1936

Adelaide Airways Ltd. absorbed West Australian Airways Ltd.

17 October 1936

BHP and General Motors Holden create the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) in anticipation of the coming conflict. L.J. Wackett was CAC’s manager and he chose a US design for both the airframe and engine with the resulting aircraft known as the Wirraway. The factory was at Fishermen’s Bend Victoria.

2 November 1936

Holman’s Airways merged with Adelaide Airways to form the second “Australian National Airline Pty Ltd” (ANA).


Marguerite Grueber and Blanche Due became Australian National Airlines (ANA) and Australia’s first air hostesses.


The Australian Commonwealth Government lifted the ban on importing non-British aircraft into Australia.

16 April 1937

A meeting of State and Federal Ministers held in Melbourne resolved unanimously that there should be uniform rules on matters of aviation safety and that all States would enact Air Navigation Acts in uniform terms which would have the effect of adopting the Commonwealths Air Navigation Regulations as State law.

10–11 August 1938

A Deutsche Luft Hansa Focke-Wulf Fw 200 flew 6,400 kilometres (3,500 nmi) from Berlin to New York in 24 h 56 min.

25 October 1938

Australlia’s worst pre-war air disaster occured when DC2 VH-UYC “Kyeema”, the flag ship of the Australian National Airways, crashed at Mount Dandenong killing eighteen people. The government set up a public enquiry and reported on the 5 December.

14 November 1938

Australian Federal Government created the Department of Civil Aviation (D.C.A) with H.V.C Thorby as Minister from the 24 November 1938. Transition was slow with the Civil Aviation Board not being formally abolished until 12 January 1939.


Australia had permanent communication facilities at 9 sites and temporary communication facilities at 3 other sites. Radio direction findings facilities were provided at 8 sites and there were 5 radio range beacons. There were 218 government aerodromes and emergancy landing strips in Australia, with 35 in New Guinea. There were 230 locally or private owned aerodromes licensed in Australia. Seven flying boat bases and 4 emergancy moorings had been provided.

1 July 1939

The Commonwealth Government of Australia create the Beaufort Division which was owned by the government through the Department of Aircraft Production. The factory was set up at Fishermens Bend next to the CAC factory to manufacture the Bristol Aeroplane Company’s Beaufort bombers under license.

Date Event

The 1943 Department of Civil Aviation ideas where incorporated into the National Airlines Act of 1945 which established the Government owned airline Trans-Australian Airlines (TAA).


Flinders Island Airways commence providing services between Melbourne (Moorabbin Airport) and Flinders Island

10 March 1946

An Australian National Airlines (ANA) DC3 crashed at Hobart with a loss of 25 lives. The subsequent Air Court of Inquiry recommended, amongst other things, that there was a need for the Department to increase survellance of flight crew medical standards. Prior to this the Department had no aviation medical section.

May 1946

The Acident Investigation Branch was established.

September 1946

Trans-Australian Airlines (TAA) began operations.


The Commonwealth Government nationalised Qantas Empire Airways by buying the shares held by BOAC and Q.A.N.T.A.S at market price. Q.A.N.T.A.S. was wound up with its assets sold.


Ansett Airways changed its name to Ansett Transport Industries to reflect its wider operations.


East-West Airlines founded to provide scheduled passenger services.


Ansett Transport Industries first airline to move into the leisure market with the package holiday concept offering direct flights to the Barrier Reef Island resorts using Catalina Flying boats.

4 April 1947

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) entered into force after being signed in December 1944.

September 1948

Trans-Australian Airlines (TAA) introduces Australia’s first presurised aircraft, the Convair 200.


Tamworth Air Taxi Service (soon after to be shortened to Tamair) established and started operations from Tamworth NSW serving farming communities in New South Wales and Queensland.

Date Event

The Flying Doctor Service had “Royal” bestowed upon the service becoming the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).


MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Co. Pty. Ltd. & Airlines (W.A.) Ltd. were merged, to form MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd. at the request of the Western Australian State Government.


Ansett Transport Industries Australia’s first airline to move into airfreight and imported its first Carvair nose-loading freight aeroplane


Ansett Transport Industries buys out Australian National Airlines (ANA) to create Ansett-ANA.


The Australian Commonwealth Government hardened Australia’s two airline policy by introducing the Airlines Equipment Act 1958 which specified which aircraft they could buy amongst many other things.


Butler Air Transport absorbed into Ansett Transport Industries as Airlines of New South Wales.


Hazelton Air Services Pty Limited, trading as Hazelton Airlines, relocated to Cudal (near Orange) in NSW.

Date Event

Don Kendell and partners establish Premiair Aviation as an air charter provider based in Wagga Wagga.


Tasair commences operations as an air charter, maintenance and flying school operation in Hobart Tasmania.


Don Kendell and his wife Eilish take 100% control over Premier Aviation expanding the operations to include charter Services, a flying school and aircraft maintenance facilities.


Airlines of South Australia (ASA) renamed Ansett Airlines of SA (AASA)


Newcastle-based Hilder family establish Aeropelican Air Services.

Date Event

Hazelton Air Services Pty Limited became Hazelton Airlines and begin scheduled passenger operations between Orange NSW and Canberra ACT.


Midura based Murray Valley Airlines (MVA) established.

December 1975

Businessman Bevan Whitaker commences Noosa Air operations between Maryborough and Brisbane using a Britten-Norman Islander.


Gawne Aviation was established to provide air charter and flight training services from Shepparton Vicoria


Bush Pilots Airways changed their name to BPA.


Airlines of Tasmania was established as a regular public transport operator along with Par-Avion, a different branding used for chartered and sightseeing flights.

4 July 1978

Airnorth established by Capiteq Limited and commences charter flights.


Carnarvon Air Taxis changes name to Skywest Aviation and moved to Perth’s Jandakot Airport.

Date Event

Maroomba Airlines commences operations to provide regular ad hoc charter services around Western Australia.


Seair Pacific founded to provide air chater services.


Trans Australian Airlines (TAA) changes name to Australian Airlines


Aboriginal Air Services commenced operations.

28th June 1986

Airlines of South Australia operations are ceased by Ansett with the last passenger flight to Whyalla South Australia.

9 November 1986

Sunstate take over the operations of Murray Valley Airlines (MVA) as Sunstate Airlines (Mildura).


Lincoln Airlines established operating from Port Lincoln South Australia.


Ansett expands into New Zealand through its subsiduary Ansett New Zealand after the Government of New Zealand opened its skies to the airline.


Flight West Airlines established by Sir Dennis Buchanan to operate subsidised passenger services to remote communities on Queensland Government contracts.


Skywest Airlines bought out by the Perron group and then on-sold shortly thereafter to TNT/News Limited and began operating under the Ansett banner.


Tamair after 36 years of expansion and amalgamation with several smaller commuter operators changed its name to Eastern Australia Airlines.

1 June 1987

Sunstate takes over routes in South-East Queensland from financially troubled Air Queensland.

March 1988

Horizon Airlines began regional services.

July 1988

The Civil Aviation Authority, Australia’s first statutory authority with responsibility to aviation, was established under the Civil Aviation Act 1988.

25 October 1988

Sunshine Express Airlines founded by Steve Padgett commenced operations to serve regional routes, mainly out of the Sunshine Coast.


Pel-Air Aviation commenced scheduled passenger-carrying operations in Western Australia via subsidiary company Qwestair.


Air Link Pty Ltd was acquired by David and Barbara Miller.


Australian Airlines took a one-third share in Sunstate.


National Jet Systems (NJS) was established and started operations on 1 July 1990. Shorty after it commenced scheduled operations on behalf of Australian Airlines under the Airlink brand.


Jetcraft Aviation commenced chater and air cargo operations in Queensland with two Mitsubishi MU-2Gs and a Fairchild SA226-TC Metro II aircraft.

17 August 1989

VH-OJA, the first Qantas B747-400, set the record for having flown for the longest distance (non-stop London to Sydney 18,001 kilometres [9,720 nmi]) and time over distance by a commercial aircraft departing London UK on the 16 August 1989 and arriving in Sydney on the 17 August 1989. The aircraft crew were David Massy-Greene, Ray Heiniger, Rob Greenop, and George Lindeman. This record was held to 2005.

Date Event

Pel-Air Aviation subsidiary company Qwestair ceased operations and the two Westwinds then in use returned to Pel-Air operations. Pel-Air took over Newcastle Aviation.


Hinterland Aviation commence a engineering division to support the local needs of the Far North Queensland aviation industry.


The Australian Federal Goverment floats the remainder of Qantas via a public share offer in June and July. The government received A$1.45 billion in proceeds.

July 1995

The Civil Aviation Ammendment Act 1995 and the Air Services Act 1995 replace the Civil Aviation Authority with 2 seperate organisations: the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Airservices Australia.


Air New Zealand buys a 50% stake in Ansett Australia for A$540 million, though managerial control remained in the hands of News Corporation. Ansett Australia then had to divest itself of Ansett New Zealand to avoid creating a monopoly.


Paspaley Pearling aquire East-West Airlines from Ansett Airlines and commence operating Pearl Aviation providing air charter services from Darwin, Northern Territory.

12 January 1996

Ansett commenced international service to Jakarta, Indonesia.


John Macknight sells the charter operations of Macnight Airlines.


Pionair Australia establised to provide charter and air cargo services operating from Bankstown Airport NSW.


Lincoln Airlines merged with Augusta Airways (based in Port Augusta) and was renamed Airlines of South Australia (ASA)

8 June 1997

Ansett commenced international service to Shanghai, China.


Tasair commence scheduled operations on a triangular service from Hobart to Devonport and Burnie, using a Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain and two Aero Commander 500S Shrike Commanders.


McKinlay Air Charters commence scheduled passenger services throughout Queensland.


Lindsay Evans establishes Network Aviation as a air charter operation providing services from Perth Western Australia.


Great Western Aviation commence operations.

July 1998

The Civil Aviation Amendment Bill was introduced providing a basis for, amongst other things, implementation of the Regulatory Framework Reform Program.

June 1999

The Civil Aviation Authority (CASA) announced a suite of reforms including rewriting the aviation regulations.

Date Event
30 March 2005

National Jet Systems completed rebranding to Cobham Aviation Services Australia.

August 2005

Australiawide Airlines changes name to Regional Express Holdings Limited which coincided with them purchasing 50% of Pel-Air Aviation.

9 November 2005

Airnorth ceases the operations of Airlines of South Australia (ASA) and Emu Airways.

9 November 2005

A Boeing 777-200LR, dubbed the Worldliner, completed the world’s longest non-stop passenger flight. It traveled 21,602 kilometres (11,664 nmi) eastward, as opposed to a normal westward routing for that sector, which is much shorter at 9,647 kilometres (5,209 nmi), from Hong Kong to London, in roughly 22 h 22 min. Aboard the 777-200LR were eight pilots including Suzanna Darcy-Henneman, Boeing’s first female test pilot.

29 November 2005

Ozjet Airlines Pty Ltd commences operations flying eight scheduled return services per day between Melbourne and Sydney using Boeing 737-200 aircraft.

30 November 2005

Airlink becomes a wholy owned subsiduary of Regional Express Holdings.


Big Sky Express cease operations.


McDermott Aviation establish Machjet International as their fixed wing aircraft charter operations.


Australian Airlines was disbanded and assets absorbed back into the Qantas group.


Express Freighters Australia commenced air cargo operations from Sydney NSW as a wholly owned subsiduary of QANTAS.

May 2006

Norfolk Air commenced operations offering sceduled services to Norflok Island from Brisbane and Sydney.

September 2006

Aboriginal Air Services ceased operating.

1 October 2006

Sunshine Express ceased all scheduled flights to focus on charter operations.

December 2006

Skytrans Airlines aquired by Australian Aviation Holdings. Skytrans Airlines and Queensland Regional Airlines are merged under the Skytrans Banner.

January 2007

Regional Express Holdings increase their ownership in Pel-Air Aviation to 75%.

June 2007

Pel-Air Aviation became a wholly owned subsidiary of Regional Express Holdings.

July 2007

The Airspace Act 2007, Airspace Regulations 2007, and Australian Aerospace Policy Statement 2007 were introduced giving the Civil Aviation Safety Authority sole carriage of the regulation of all Australian-administered airspace.

November 2007

O’Connor Airline was placed into voluntary administration ceasing operations on 14 December 2007 after its administrators were unable to find a buyer.

23 November 2007

Tiger Airways Australia Pty Ltd, operating as Tigerair Australia, (a wholly owned subsiduary of Tiger Airways) commenced it first regular service between Melbourne Victoria for the Gold Coast Queensland.

Late 2007

Sunshine Express ceased operations.

December 2007

Regional Express Holdings commence a joint venture with Mangalore Airport to create the Civil Aviation Training Academy (CATA).

12 December 2007

Jetcraft Aviation placed into administration.


International Air Parts sold Aeropelican to Business Air Holdings

28 February 2008

Mount Gambier businessman Adrian de Bruin purchased many of the assets of O’Connor Airlines and establish de Bruin Air.

May 2008

Paul Stoddart sold his 97.4% stake in OzJet to HeavyLift Cargo Airlines.

mid 2008

Toll Holdings aquires Jetcraft Aviation from the administrator and commences air cargo operations as Toll Aviation.

September 2008

Regional Express Holdings aquires 100% ownership of Civil Aviation Training Academy (CATA) changing the name to the Australian Airline Pilot Academy (AAPA).

September 2008

Provision came into effect under Part 99 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 requiring air operators to establish drug and alcohol management plans and empowering the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to test personnel who undertake safety-sensitive aviation activities for alcohol and drugs.

November 2008

Hardy Aviation begin services through their scheduled service arm Fly Tiwi offering flights on routes between Darwin and Nguiu on Bathurst Island and connecting Darwin with Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti on Melville Island.

20 December 2008

Air Link Pty Ltd, a subsiduary of Regional Express Holdings, ceased all scheduled operations to concentrate on its air charter and aircraft maintenance business.

January 2009

MacAir placed itself into voluntary administration cesing operations the next day. On 6 February the business was closed by the receiver and its 200 employees dismissed.

March 2009

The Civil Aviation Amendment Act 2009 made governance and enforcement related changes to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) including the re-establishment of the CASA Board from July 2009. The Transport Safety Investigation Amendment Act 209 establised the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) as an independent agency as from July 2009.

April 2009

Regional Express Holdings launched RexJet Executive Charter as a division of Pel-Air.

June 2009

HeavyLift Cargo Airlines sells Ozjet Airlines Pty Ltd to Air Australia.

Date Event
2 January 2015

Skytrans Airlines suspended operations with Bentleys Chartered Accountants appointed Joint & Several Administrators.

6 February 2015

Bristow Group Inc. aquired 85% ownership of Capiteq Limited, which owns Airnorth.

9 March 2015

Bertrand Piccard attempts first round the world flight in an electric powered aircraft, Solar Impulse 2, taking off from Al-Bateen airport, Abu Dhabi. In July 2015 the aircraft was grounded in Hawaii after completing the Japan to Hawaii leg due to battery problems with expectations of completing the flight post battery repairs in Spring 2016.

7 August 2015

Hawker Pacific announced it had aquired Aeromil Pacific giving them the ability to offer sales and support services for Textron’s Beechcraft, Cessna and Bell Helicopter range.