Qantas has scheduled the Boeing 747 on eight domestic services between November 2019 and February 2020 ahead of the type’s withdrawal from the fleet by the end of 2020.
The airline said in a statement on its website the flights would give travellers an opportunity to fly on the iconic aircraft without the need to leave the country.
The eight flights are as follows:
November 9 2019
November 11 2019
November 23 2019
November 25 2019
December 31 2019
January 1 2020
February 15 2020
February 17 2020
“The 747 has a special place in the hearts of many passengers and we’re delighted to announce that we’ll be operating a number of domestic services between November and February 2020, giving customers the opportunity to fly on the Jumbo without the need for a passport,” the Qantas statement on its website dated June 27 said.
The Qantas 747 fleet currently stands at seven aircraft, comprising six GE-powered 747-438ERs (VH-OEE thru OEJ) delivered between 2002 and 2003 and one Rolls-Royce-powered 747-438s (VH-OJU) delivered in the 1999-2000 timeframe.
The most recent retirement was VH-OEB MSN 25778 Phillip Island, which was withdrawn on June 2.
The 26-year-old aircraft operated its last commercial flight as QF73 from Sydney to San Francisco. It was then ferried to Los Angeles as QF6021 and onwards to Tupelo Regional Airport.
After 26 years of service #Qantas #Boeing 747-48E Reg: VH-OEB lands at #LAX one last time on Sunday June 2nd, 2019. Operating as flight QF6021 from #SanFrancisco the “Queen” officially retires from the Qantas fleet. #planespotting #b747 #avgeek #qantas747 @Qantas @flyLAXairport pic.twitter.com/0V4a4HAmGN
— AIRLINE VIDEOS (@airlinevideos) June 3, 2019
The GE-powered VH-OEB was the last 747 that had Qantas’s old first class seats in the nose, with the remaining 747-400s and -400ERs having been reconfigured with a three-class layout comprising business, premium economy and economy.
It was built for Asiana in 1993 and acquired by Qantas in 1998.
In all, Qantas has operated 65 747s, taking delivery of 57 new 747s from Boeing, purchasing three 747‑400s secondhand and operating five leased aircraft at various points. And for a period between the retirement of its last 707 in March 1978 and the delivery of its first 767 in July 1985 Qantas even operated an all-747 fleet.
The first 747 entered service with Qantas in September 1971, and in time the airline would operate almost every major 747 variant, including the 747SP, the 747 Combi, the 747-300 (which introduced the extended upper deck), the 747-400, and the 747‑400ER (Extended Range).
Qantas announced in May 2018 it had exercised options for a further six 787-9s and would retire the 747 fleet by the time the airline celebrated its centenary at the end of calendar 2020.
VIDEO: A Qantas television advertisement celebrating the introduction into service of the Boeing 747-400 in 1989 from the Yogiew2 YouTube channel.