Airlines Qantas bids farewell to the Boeing 747

Qantas has bid farewell to the last Boeing 747-400 aircraft in its fleet. The last flight concluded the end of an era.

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The final Boeing 747-400 in Qantas´ fleet, VH-OEJ, has brought a five decades long decade to an end. The aircraft departed Sydney in the afternoon as flight number QF7474 and performed an overflight over the harbour of Sidney, before heading to the east coast to draw the iconic Qantas branding in the sky.

In August 1971, Qantas took delivery of their very first Boeing 747. The aircraft was the perfect match for the geographical circumstances, as the 747 was designed for performing long-haul flights. Its arrival enabled millions of people to travel for the first time. Over the decades, the 747 carried generations of Australians on their first overseas adventures and was a safe voyage for thousands of migrant families.

With the 747, Qantas introduced a Business Class as the first airline in the world. Furthermore, the aircraft transported a record of 674 passengers out of Darwin in the aftermath of the Cyclone Tracy. In 2011, the aircraft transported Australians out of Cairo during political unrests and in December 2014, the airline brought medical supplies in and tourists home from the Maldives and Sri Lanka after the Boxing Day Tsunami. Even in COVID-19 times, the aircraft served to rescue passengers from epicentres.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “It’s hard to overstate the impact that the 747 had on aviation and a country as far away as Australia. It replaced the 707, which was a huge leap forward in itself but didn’t have the sheer size and scale to lower airfares the way the 747 did. That put international travel within reach of the average Australian and people jumped at the opportunity.”

After having flown six different types of the 747, it is now time to bring forward more modern and fuel-efficient aircraft. The airline has taken delivery of 11 Boeing 787 Dreamliners so far and will receive state-of-the-art Airbus A350-1000s in the upcoming years.

“Time has overtaken the 747 and we now have a much more fuel efficient aircraft with even better range in our fleet, such as the 787 Dreamliner that we use on Perth-London and hopefully before too long, the Airbus A350 for our Project Sunrise flights non-stop to New York and London,” confirmed Mr Joyce.

VH-OEJ has now been transferred to Los Angeles, California, concluding the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

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