Mystery surrounds the eventual retirement home of Qantas Boeing 747-400 VH-OJA, with the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) describing social media reports that it will take the aircraft as “rumour mongering”.
HARS president Bob De La Hunty says the “rumours” on social media are “all over the place”.
“None of it is right,” De La Hunty told Australian Aviation on Tuesday.
“It’s someone else’s social media rumour mongering that is going on. Quite frankly they are driving me nuts.”
The Qantas Source website reported on December 7 that VH-OJA, which was the first Boeing 747-400 in the Qantas fleet and flew nonstop from London to Sydney in 1989 as part of its delivery flight, was “expected to be preserved at the Historical Aircraft Restoration facility at Wollongong”.
OJA operated what was expected to be its last commercial flight on December 7, when it departed Sydney as QF107 bound for Los Angeles. It was then expected to make the short hop across to Victorville where it was to be placed into storage.
However, the aircraft is still in active service with Qantas, having operated a Los Angeles-New York-Los Angeles rotation on December 12, according to flight tracking website Flightaware, and it is now scheduled to return to Sydney as QF18 from Los Angeles on December 18.
The Airline Hub Buzz website had reported on December 4 that Qantas would “gift this aircraft to an Australian museum because of its historical significance”.
De La Hunty said “the right thing to do would be to ignore the social media”.
“It’s certainly a rumour and they are not getting it right or wrong,” De La Hunty said.
“It is just a situation where we are being bombarded and we are really not in a position to say anything about it, we don’t know anything about it.”
For its part the Qantas Founders Museum has confirmed it will not be taking VH-OJA.
“Over the last few weeks we have been frequently asked whether we are getting the Qantas Boeing 747 VH-OJA,” the museum, which is already home to Qantas 747-200 VH-EBQ, said on its Facebook page on December 9.
“Just to let you know Qantas Founders Museum will NOT be getting VH-OJA but thank you to everyone for showing an interest in the collection of Qantas Founders Museum!”
Australian Aviation understands that Qantas offered to donate OJA to the Qantas Founders Museum, but the museum had to decline due to a lack of space.
A Qantas spokesperson said in an emailed statement the airline had “nothing to announce yet” on OJA’s fate.
“We are still working through the logistics,” the spokesperson told Australian Aviation on Tuesday.