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VH-OJA back in Sydney

written by australianaviation.com.au | December 20, 2014

A recent shot of Qantas Boeing 747-400 VH-OJA at Los Angeles Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A recent shot of Qantas Boeing 747-400 VH-OJA at Los Angeles Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas’s first Boeing 747-400 has arrived back in Australia and is expected to be shortly be on its way to a yet-to-be-identified retirement home.

After a delay of more than four hours, VH-OJA departed Los Angeles as QF18 in the early hours of Friday morning at 0045 local time bound for Sydney.

The flight landed at Mascot some 14 hours later at 1019 Saturday Sydney time.

The aircraft operated what was expected to be its last commercial flight on December 7, when it departed Sydney as QF107 to Los Angeles. It was then expected to make the short hop across to Victorville where it was to be placed into storage.

However, 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, operated a Los Angeles-New York-Los Angeles rotation on December 12, according to flight tracking website Flightaware.


It was understood Qantas was keen to gift the aircraft to a museum because of its place in Australian aviation history.

The Qantas Founders Museum has ruled out taking VH-OJA, while Historical Aviation Restoration Society (HARS) president Bob De La Hunty described social media reports his society would take the aircraft as “rumour mongering”.

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.

Meanwhile, Qantas resumed Boeing 747-400 operations from Melbourne Airport on Friday with the start of a new three-times-a-week service to Los Angeles. Qantas now has 10 flights a week to Los Angeles, a daily afternoon departure with Airbus A380 aircraft and three evening flights a week with the 747.

Read more about VH-OJA’s 1989 delivery flight in the January/February edition of Australian Aviation.

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Comments (12)

  • Deano


    I still don’t understand why Qantas would retire such a well proven and reliable aircraft fleet of 747-400s, an aircraft they own, in favor of spending $400,000,000.00 odd on each a380
    When you factor leasing costs, these a380s will cost in the order of over $1.2billion each
    For what? Save on fuel? Wouldn’t be an issue if they got their factoring right……
    Surely the deal they did with Emerites gave them access to cheap gas at Dubai right, if not why not?
    They should at least keep 4-5 fueled up and ready to go for when the next a380 gets a clogged dunny or de-pressurizes mid flight

  • Ante C


    The problem is, passengers don’t like the 747 any more. Whenever they hear ‘747’, immediatley than think ‘old’ and trustworthy’. They like the A380 because it’s still relatively new and gigantic.

  • Tim McKew


    Just this year i’ve flown 43 flights, I will choose a 747 over a 380 or 777 any day of the week, More room, and not a sardine special like Emirates seem to favour,

  • chuck


    Still think it’s shame that it can’t be accommodated at the Qantas Founders Museum. It is an historic aircraft in the recent fleet of the airline and set a huge benchmark with the non-stop Kangaroo route flight in 1989. It would be nice to see industry and government find a solution to the shortage of hard standing at Longreach. This aircraft and a Lockheed Constellation would provide a truly excellent and impressive museum fleet and further cement the attraction.

  • marc


    @ante c. Most people don’t know or wouldn’t care what aircraft it is. Price, service, reputation and schedules, takes priority for many.

  • Scott


    Bear in mind Deano that the maintenance costs of the 747 may be increasing as compared to the A380… the costs/economics might be becoming un-managable. On top of the experience presented by each aircraft.

  • Deano


    Scott if they own the 747s outright versus just the interest and repayments on the a380 (approx $1,000,000.00 per week
    I would think that this would more than offset the higher cost of maintenance
    As for fuel, a well maintained 747 400 burns 15% less than an a380, I concede though the a380 carries 20% more
    Factor in the turnback costs which happen on an all to regular basis and the 747 400 is all over the a380

  • Red Barron


    Could this find a home at alice springs boneyard ? Or well camp and combine the military museum of Oakey with it at wellcamp? Business opportunity there Mr Wagners ?????

  • Greg


    And still soldiering on. Since returning from the US, VH-OJA has done two SYD-NRT rotations. Any word on when it will be withdrawn ?

  • Mark


    I love the Airbus A380 because it is a larger aircraft and a lot more quieter.
    I think the Boeing 747-400 has seen it’s day. I think it has been a wonderful aircraft but like
    all mechanical equipment it has a limited life time. The Airbus A350 900 and 1000 will be
    interesting when they start flying.

  • cristo


    I would have to say that the 747 is one of the best if not the best aircraft built by Boeing, I have flown on this aircraft numerous times very comfortable and safe. Having said that Airbus has come along way and having flown on the A380 was I would have to say my best flight so far.
    Moving forward I think that Airbus might just have the edge on Boeing irrespective of airline cost’s I don’t think that people care what the airline spends they look at comfort, safety and reliability as the important factors when they are flying.
    I would think twice about making a statement like 747-400 all over A380,
    I don’t think so…..

  • Daniel


    Here’s hoping Qantas keeps us in the loop of when her final departure will be, I remember
    the day she arrived in Sydney ( as she came through the clouds over my parents house ) and would like to see her leave. Has anyone have more reliable Qantas mates ( than mine ) who may have a clue when this will be?

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