Qantas’s Boeing 747-400 fleet will be reduced to six aircraft from mid-October when VH-OJU Lord Howe Island is withdrawn from service.
The airline said on Monday VH-OJU’s final commercial flight before the aircraft is retired has been scheduled for October 13 2019 as a special one-off service from Sydney to Los Angeles, with flight number QF99.
And frequent flyers will have the first opportunity to secure their place on QF99, with all 364 seats only available via points redemptions until September 2. Any remaining seats will then be made available for sale to the general public.
The cost to redeem a seat on QF99 starts at 41,900 points and $205 in taxes, fees and carrier charges for economy, increasing to 72,000 points and $405 for premium economy, and topping out at 96,000 points and $480 for business.
Flight QF99 was scheduled to depart Sydney at 1700 and arrive in Los Angles at 1250 local time the same day.
It is the third “points plane” flight Qantas has offered in recent times. There will also be a one-off Airbus A380 service from Melbourne to Tokyo Narita on October 21 2019, as well as an Airbus A330 Tokyo Narita-Melbourne service on October 26 2019.
Qantas has also scheduled eight one-off domestic flights with the 747-400/400ER between November 2019 and February 2020.
Qantas winding down 747-400 fleet
The near-20-year-old VH-OJU has 58 business class seats, 36 premium economy seats and 270 economy seats. It is one of seven 747-400/400ERs in the Qantas fleet due to be withdrawn by the time the airline celebrates its centenary at the end of calendar 2020.
The seven aircraft comprise six GE-powered 747-438ERs (VH-OEE thru OEJ) delivered between 2002 and 2003 and VH-OJU, which is powered by Rolls-Royce engines and delivered in 2000.
The most recent retirement was VH-OEB MSN 25778 Phillip Island, which was withdrawn on June 2.
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
In all, Qantas has operated 65 747s, taking delivery of 57 new 747s from Boeing, purchasing three 747‑400s second-hand 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).
VIDEO: A Qantas television advertisement celebrating the introduction into service of the Boeing 747-400 in 1989 from the Yogiew2 YouTube channel.