Qantas To Retire the Boeing 747 Earlier Than Expected

Today, Australian flag carrier Qantas Boeing 747 completed its final passenger flight.

Qantas to retire its remaining 747s this weekend. Photo: Sam Chui

Qantas is retiring the remaining five Boeing 747 from its fleet this weekend. These aircraft have already been sold and will not return to passenger service, though they might be used for rescue flights due to the coronovirus crisis and worldwide grounding of the Qantas international flight.

Qantas, today completed its final Boeing 747 flight from Santiago, Chile to Sydney. The flight departed Santiago at 2:12 p.m. local time and arrived in Sydney at 5:30 p.m. local time.

VH-OEE performed Qantas last passenger flight with callsign QF28. The aircraft performed a low pass flyover of the Sydney Harbor before touching down at Sydney International Airport today. 

On 26th March, another Boeing 747 registered VH-OEH, one of the final 747s performed a similar flyover of the Sydney Harbor before touching down at Sydney Airport.

Qantas has also decided to ground entire fleet of A380s due to coronavirus. Photo: Sam Chui

The Australian carrier is planning to suspend all of its international flights until the end of May as per recommendations from Australia’s federal government. Qantas has also decided to ground its entire fleet of A380s and 747s as a result.

Though, the airline is expected to resume its A380 operations in September, its 747 would be retired earlier this weekend. Initially, it was planned to be phased out by the end of 2020.

Qantas received its first Boeing 747 in 1971, which was a -200 variant. Qantas has operated every version of the Boeing 747 series except the 747-8. 

Qantas’s first 747-400 flew the then World’s longest flight, after it completed the flight from London to Sydney back in 17th August, 1998. Qantas is also the sole operator of the extended range passenger variant 747-400ER.

Related: COVID-19: Grounded Airplane Footage: Runways, Taxiways used for parking

Qantas is the sole operator of extended range passenger B747-400ER Photo: Sam Chui

Qantas retired its last 747-400, VH-OJU back on 13 October, 2019, after operating QF99 from Sydney to Los Angles.

These retired aircraft was sold in the early hours of Friday morning. These aircraft will be ferried to Mojave in California later in April.

The 747 has no direct replacement in Qantas fleet in terms of capacity. But this may change with Project Sunrise, when the carrier will introduce Airbus A350-1000 into its fleet.

Most of the former Boeing 747 routes have already been replaced by the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. 

Here are some of the footage of Qantas B747 featuring different liveries: 

*Note: All footage were taken by Sam Chui

Qantas B747-300 in Nalanji Dreaming livery

Qantas B747-400 in F1 livery


Qantas B747-400 in OneWorld livery

Qantas B747-400 in Socceroos livery

Have you even been on board Qantas Boeing 747?  If yes, share your best Qantas 747 memories in the comments below: 

1 thought on “Qantas To Retire the Boeing 747 Earlier Than Expected”

  1. It is very sad to see the Queen of the skies, being retired by so many Airlines, especially as the price of fuel is at its lowest level in years.
    I've flown this wonderful aircraft across all its various models, many times, on various Airlines, and have never had a bad flight.
    So, why retire them?

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