SYDNEY – Qantas has retired its Boeing 747 after it first came into service almost half a century ago. Lucky passengers boarded the iconic aircraft for one last time. The last 747 passenger flight departed from Sydney for the last time today. It was the first in a series of 3 farewell flights, allowing Australians to say goodbye to the ‘Queen of the Skies’ after 49 years of service.
Qanta Flight QF747 departed Sydney Airport at 10:30 AM local time for Gosford and Australia’s Central Coast, north of the city. The 747 with registration VH-OEJ subsequently flew in opposite direction to Royal National Park. The Jumbo Jet also made a number of flyovers in Sydney before the aircraft touched down at Kingsford Smith International Airport after an unforgettable last passenger flight that lasted for over 1 hour.
Lots of requests for a last farewell flight
Qantas received many requests from employees and customers to fly on the 747 for the last time. The airline is therefore operating farewell flights also with the same 747 to Brisbane and Canberra this week on Wednesday July 15 to Brisbane and on Friday July 17 to Canberra.
Business Class passengers paid tickets for the last farewell flight for about 755 Australian Dollars (AUD), while Economy Class passengers paid 404 AUD.
Qantas says it will donate all profit from the 3 farewell flights to 2 Australian museums, “to preserve and promote the legacy of the 747 for future generations.”
Qantas was planning to retire the 747 soon, but the corona crisis has caused the airline to say farewell much sooner than planned. The most Qantas’ 747s have been replaced by Boeing 787-9s, which are a lot more efficient and modern, but offer less capacity – 236 compared to the Jumbo Jet’s 364 seats.
Qantas Captain Owen Weaver, says the iconic plane holds a special place in the hearts of many Australians. “There is an immense amount of nostalgia and affection associated with our 747. These aircraft have been used for numerous rescue flights and have carried many travelers on their first international flight to or from Australia.”
“It is therefore that we celebrate the end of 5 decades of historic moments with the 747 in this way,” Weaver added.
Qantas will send its last 747 to the Mojave Desert on July 22, where the majority of the airline’s 747 fleet has found its last restplace.
(Head image: YouTube / 9 News Australia)