The oldest aircraft in the mainline Qantas fleet, Boeing 747-438 VH-OJM, has been retired, operating its last revenue flight on Sunday.
VH-OJM Gosford operated QF73 from Sydney to San Francisco, the 13 hour flight departing just before 1:15pm on Sunday. After a few hours on the ground the quad-jet then made the short hop southeast to Mojave airport where it is likely to enter storage awaiting its fate.
The Rolls-Royce RB211-powered 747-400 had made its first flight on August 30 1991 and was delivered to Qantas on September 17 that year. From that time it would fly over 110,000 flight hours in Qantas service.
VH-OJM’s departure sees the Qantas 747 passenger fleet reduced to 10 aircraft, comprising six GE-powered 747-400ERs (VH-OEE thru OEJ) delivered between 2002 and 2003, a single GE-powered 747-48E (VH-OEB, built for Asiana in 1993 and acquired by Qantas in 1998) and three RR-powered 747-438s (VH-OJS, OJT and OJU) delivered in 1999-2000.
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With OJM’s retirement VH-OEB now remains the only 747 still to feature Qantas’s old first class seats in the nose, while the remaining 747-400s and -400ERs having been reconfigured with a three-class layout comprising business, premium economy and economy.
The remaining non ER 747-400s are expected to be retired as Qantas introduces the 787-9 into service, the first of which is due for delivery in October.
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