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Airline Flags (Australia)

Last modified: 2023-07-22 by ian macdonald
Keywords: australia | airline | ansett | qantas | australian national flag | stars: southern cross | southern cross | a | kangaroo |
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[Flag of Ansett Airlines] image by António Martins, 24 Apr 2006

The airline company Ansett, which is currently dying or about to be resurrected, depending on who you believe, had a very good flag based on the Australian flag. It had the Ansett logo (consisting of a yellow A-shape without the cross bar, the right arm thicker than the left, with a white seven pointed star nestled against/into the right arm at the bottom), at the hoist, with the star roughly in the position of the commonwealth star on the Australian national flag, and the southern cross in the fly as in the Australian national flag. In my opinion it was quite a good corporate flag. However, I have always found it interesting the way that the older, "establishment" airline, Qantas, has the symbol that is part of many people's idea for a new national flag (and makes some people say the proposals look too much like an airline flag), whereas the newer airline has the symbol using elements of the current national flag, and a flag which is very similar.
Jonathan Dixon, 28 October 2001

In my humble opinion, the flag looks even better when flying, when the contrast between the two shades of blue is less distinct. There is a nice photo here.

This design was also used by Ansett as the logo on the tails of the aircraft. Before this logo was adopted, the Australian national flag itself was used on the tails. The Ausflag site contains a speech by Frank Sartor (then Lord Mayor of Sydney) which quotes Ansett's marketing director saying that the change was due to marketing research on how the flag logo was not perceived as Australian in the Asian market.
Jonathan Dixon, 25 April 2006

When Ansett went broke a few years ago, after the final flight the staff performed a little "ceremony" in which they folded an Ansett flag while the Last Post was played, in the manner of a military funeral. This generated a little controversy back then, as some people considered it disrespectful to "mock" the war dead.
Miles Li, 25 April 2006

Australian National Airways

[Flag of Ansett Airlines] image by Miles Li, 3 September 2016

[Red with a white star surrounded by the letters A N A.]

Here was the flag of the Australian National Airways. Formed in 1936 as a amalgamation of several regional airlines; taken over by Ansett in 1957.
Miles Li, 22 July 2008

Tasmanian Aerial Services Pty. Ltd.

[William Holyman & Sons Pty. Ltd. houseflag and funnel] image by Miles Li, 3 September 2016

Australian National Airways traced its origin back to 19 March 1932, when Flinders Island Airways was established in Tasmania. On 1 October that year, it partnered with William Holyman & Sons Pty. Ltd., and renamed Tasmanian Aerial Services Pty. Ltd.
Miles Li, 3 September 2016

[William Holyman & Sons Pty. Ltd. houseflag] image by Miles Li, 3 September 2016

On 13 May 1936, Holyman's Airways partnered with Adelaide Steamship Company and Orient Steam Navigation Company, and renamed Australian National Airways. It ceased to exist as a separate entity on 21 October 1957, when it merged with Ansett to form Ansett-ANA.
Miles Li, 3 September 2016

Matthews Aviation

[Flag of Matthews Aviation] image by Miles Li, 20 July 2016

Matthews Aviation (1928-1936) is known for its flying boat services between Melbourne and Tasmania. Since no colour image of the flag is known to exist, the colour scheme shown here is an educated guess, based on black-and-white photographs of the flag as painted on the tail fins of the flying boats.
Miles Li, 20 July 2016


[Flag of Qantas] image by António Martins, 26 Apr 2006

My memory is that Qantas has a flag with a white kangaroo in a red triangle at the hoist, as on an aircraft tail, while the rest of the flag is white containing the name "QANTAS" in black. I saw some flags that could have been these outside a Qantas building in Mascot, Sydney last week, but I cannot be sure that this description is correct.
Jonathan Dixon, 25 April 2006

Correct except that the fly is in plain white, without any letter or symbol.
Miles Li, 25 April 2006

[Flag of Qantas] image located by Paul Bassinson, 7 June 2023

An image of a flag of Qantas, in addition to the image posted above from April 2006, obtained from shows a variant with the name in black.
Paul Bassinson, 7 June 2023

Qantas Empire Airways 1945?-1948

[Flag of Qantas Empire Airways, 1945?-1948] image by Miles Li, 25 April 2017

[Blue with "QEA" in yellow in the canton, white federation (7-pointed) star in lower hoist, white southern cross in fly (as in the national flag) and the "Speedbird" logo in yellow in the centre of the flag.]

Qantas was formally known as Quantas Empire Airways between 1934 and 1967. The Speedbird desigated the QEA as a joint venture between Qantas and British Overseas Airway Corporation.
Miles Li, 26 July 2008

Speedbird, the name given to the logo used on the flag, is also used as a call sign by some British Airways aircraft to this day. The logo itself has evolved since, and is currently known as the "Speedmarque".
Sources: British Airways, web site, as consulted 26 July 2008;, as consulted 26 July 2008
Colin Dobson, 26 July 2008

Qantas Empire Airways 1948-1959

[Flag of Qantas Empire Airways, 1948-1967?] image by Miles Li, 31 January 2017

[Blue with red flying kangaroo, wing in white outline, and "QEA" in yellow in lower fly.]

Qantas 1959-84

[Flag of Qantas Empire Airways, 1959-1984] image by Miles Li, 8 April 2015

[Red with white lined globe and winged kangaroo.]

Trans Australia Airlines

[Trans Australia Airlines] image by Miles Li, 25 December 2015

The pennant of Trans Australia Airlines, as displayed on the fins of their aircraft during the 1940s-50s.
Miles Li, 25 December 2015

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