Qantas searching for next big idea

A file image of a Qantas Airbus A330-300 on approach to Melbourne Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of a Qantas Airbus A330-300 on approach to Melbourne Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas is on the hunt for the next big ideas in aviation.

The airline said on Monday it was giving “start-ups, scale-ups and digital disruptors” the opportunity to work with it on a 12-week project to come up with innovations relating to the travel experience both in the air and on the ground.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the AVRO Accelerator initiative was named after the airline’s first aircraft, the Avro 504K.

“We’re proud of our track record as innovators and early adopters and we think there’s much more to come, so we’re asking Australian and international start-ups to join us as we unearth the next big ideas,” Joyce said in a statement.

“Customer needs keep evolving and the limits of technology are constantly expanding, so there is a clear business imperative for us to find new ways to improve how we operate.

“We’re looking forward to opening up our doors to ideas that are different, challenging and truly innovative. Ideas that could benefit from the expertise and scale at a company like Qantas to refine them and make them a reality.”

Qantas said up to 10 teams would be chosen to participate. The airline outlined five areas of interest – creating seamless journeys, care beyond the air, building connected platforms, transforming for tomorrow and innovating without limits.

The AVRO Accelerator initiative is in partnership with Slingshot, a corporate startup accelerator. Slingshot’s venture capital fund will also provide up to $150,000 in funding for the successful applicants.

Successful applicants will be able to access Qantas Group’s operational data, technology platforms and anonymised customer insights, as well as get help from mentors.

“An innovation strategy must include an external approach to tap into an increasing world of disruption and talent,” Slingshot chief executive Karen Lawson said in the Qantas statement.

“We are seeing a fundamental shift as more corporate boardrooms mature in their understanding of the role start-ups and scale-ups play in navigating the reinvention of their industry and meeting customer’s changing expectations.”

Further information can be found on the Qantas website.

The company has also published a video about AVRO Accelerator on its YouTube channel:


  1. Lechuga says

    Flights to Seoul could be a start. I think it’s one of the big Asian cities Qantas doesn’t fly.
    Male could be another market for the Aussies.

    But I’d still suggest the 777-9 for replacing the 747-400ER in a couple years and then either the 777-8 or A350 for long range.

  2. Alan H says

    Not a biggie really, but why doesn’t Qantas fly Canberra – Auckland? Singapore already are flying Canberra – Wellington, so why doesn’t Qantas grab the Auckland run? Either Virgin or Air NZ will do it if they don’t.
    And here’s another one. Forget Badgery’s Creek. Why don’t they push for Goulburn to be the east coast freight hub?The Goulburn airport is adjacent to the freeway and rail link between Sydney-Melbourne and would not be subject to curfews. Admittedly it would require substantial upgrading, but it’s worthy of consideration. Sydney without freight flights would free up a lot more landing slots. Might be a problem for perishables. But Goulburn is only 2 hours from Sydney by road and refrigerated vans could cope with that surely.

  3. Karen Lasouu says

    Maybe flights to Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka or Ho chi min city. Im still waiting for a direct sevice from Bne to Beijing!

  4. Ashim says

    Get your overhyphed business class on A380-800 sorted out. Just have a look at what Emirates and Singapore Airlines provide. Qantas entertainment on business class is abysmal to say the least.

  5. Steve says

    Qantas is falling behind in regards to a modern fleet .. We operate aging old aircraft both Domestic and Internationally .Unless your on. london or US flight where we have the half descent 380s ..Big deal we are getting the 787-900 which rnt new anymore .How bout they invest heavily into 777max or the 350s tomorrow. NOT in 5 yrs time !!!!

  6. Rusty says

    How about a few “daylight” return flights to Australia from Asia, as was promised years ago and already offered by the competition ?? Something to avoid the awful “red-eye” flight that is QFA’s only offering at the moment.

  7. Rick says

    How about banning 737 flights to/from Perth. They are TOO small/cramped for any fight over 2hours… And that’s pretty much anywhere.

  8. Nick says

    I’m all about the decent food, I’d rather not pay extra for food, then pay for that rubbish they serve

  9. Peter J CESNIK says

    Continental Europe is being totally neglected. From eastern EU I do not feel like flying to LHR for uplift on QF. Vienna (VIE) would be a better alternative. But again the economics are the issue. Still if you are starting 17 hours flight from LHR to PER why not VIE-DRW or PER…?

  10. Billyo says

    Keith is 100% right – most particularly about customer service ‘cos currently there ain’t none

  11. C A says


    You said it! Why the need to bitch and moan from the aussie people? I never understand why we have to cut down our own be it sports, media, entertainment professionals etc we as a nation tend to just enjoy bashing the proverbial out of others…its just sad 🙁 and for those complaining about customer service, that is such a broad comment and in no way helpful to any forum to help any business due to its vagueness and ambiguity so either elaborate or find ways to fix the solution, lets help others instead of always putting others down-have a nice day!

  12. Jim Thorn says

    Yes, the serial bitchers always get excited by anything negative they can throw at QF. Can’t remember the last flights or QF experience I had that wasn’t catered for by professional and friendly staff at every level and I have been dealing with Big Red since the sixties.
    However, why they don’t (anybody!) sieze the initiative of a Canberra/Auckland defies comprehension as on our side this is a demographic of half a million cashed up travelers. Also more services out of Gold Coast to secondary Australian ports. You would be amazed to find that you cannot fly Perth/GC and Canberra is soon also to disappear. Anyway, what would I know?

  13. James says

    Qantas, should start buying big deals on the 777x to service longer routes aimed towards Europe, such as Syd-Rome or Syd-Paris they should also go to Frankfurt and Madrid. Qantas is a great airline but they need to get newer fleet that can fly longer distance to Europe direct etc

  14. Marcus says

    Have to say, customer service has improved on QF over the decades I have flown QF. I have at times tried other cheaper alternatives and regretted it whenever I had to make changes to my arrangements as these cheaper (unnamed) alternatives are inflexible and very costly should any change be required…where as QF were both flexible and reasonable whenever I had to make changes. So I tend to stick with QF. Of course, make your own choice when you fly.

  15. Marther says

    Qantas is after big, different innovative ideas, not improvement ideas on what they already do but could be doing better (what aircraft/destinations/meals/IFE). They already have teams trying to improve those things.

  16. Lechuga says

    A big, different and innovative idea, international flights that don’t all go out of Sydney.

  17. Dee Thom says

    A very obvious route would be Wellcamp, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, return, utilising Q-Link Dash 8’s or similar. Bushies (Bush Pilots) did this run in the 1970/80’s successfully until taken out by TAA.
    Maybe VA could use some of thier Grounded ATR’s if QF was not interested!

  18. Jasonp says

    To Dee Thom and all the others proposing new routes – don’t you think Qantas and all other airlines already have a cadre of experts dedicated to exploring the business cases of all imaginable city pairs already? Airlines are in the business of (trying) to make money, so surely if the business case was there, they’d already be operating on the routes you’ve all proposed.

  19. Rocket says

    I’m constantly amazed by people suggesting all these places in Europe Qantas should fly to… has it not dawned that just about every Euro carrier has pulled out of Australia… I’m sure people will say “but EK do it”… yes… EK, GF, EY, et al are all State owned and subsidized entities that pay cents on the dollar for fuel out of their main base and benefit from cheap, imported labor in the ME for IT, etc. Qantas is a publicly listed company and must make a profit. The smorgasbord list of destinations constantly touted is somewhere from left field of reality.
    Why doesn’t Qantas operate CBR-AKL??? Maybe because there’s no market. SQ has to stop somewhere so they’ve decided to do CBR. They are carrying through traffic to WLG. So what, do people really think that an airline that made over a billion dollars last year (QF) and is heading to make the same this year hasn’t looked at the economics. With the ME carriers and SQ, tacking on AKL or CHC to a long haul is just saving the aeroplane sitting around in MEL or SYD all day and putting it to use. Qantas doesn’t have that luxury. Maybe also not so much the smorgasbord of aircraft suggestions either. Agree the 777 would fit nicely but A350… get rid of ‘unreliable’ A380 and buy more Airbus’… has anyone looked at A330 reliability and capability. Qantas has chosen the 787 and the 737-MAX. It needs to look at the 787-10 or the 777-10 to fill any gap by the 747-400ER. Otherwise it’s doing an Ansett… 737s and A320s doing the same thing, F100s, F50s, BAe146, and 767s internationally from 3-5 different airlines second hand with different equipment. Best option for QF post A380 would be 737-MAX, 787 and 777… keep it simple.