End of an era as Qantas retires the 737 classic
Qantas has operated its last 737-400 revenue flight, marking the end of scheduled Boeing 737-300/-400 ‘classic’ passenger services in Australia.
Qantas 737-476 VH-TJS Jabiru operated the final service, QF819 from Canberra to Melbourne, on Sunday afternoon, the 48 minute flight departing at 17:23 and touching down 48 minutes later at 18:11. An Airservices ARFF monitor cross on pushback in Canberra marked the milestone.
The CFM56-powered 737 classic was introduced into Australia with Australian Airlines, which took delivery of 737-300 VH-TAG in August 1986. Later that month Ansett too took delivery of its first 737-300, VH-CZA. The first Australian Airlines 737-400 was delivered from December 1988. Both the 737-300 and -400 became a mainstay of the Qantas domestic fleet following the Qantas-Australian Airlines merger in 1992-93. VH-TJS was in fact the last 737-400 to be delivered in Australian Airlines colours.
The classic will continue to ply its trade in Australia as a freighter, with 737-300Fs remaining in service with Qantas Freight and Toll Express. In addition, Nauru’s Our Airline has three 737-300s on the VH register.