Qantas began its series of farewell flights to its 747 fleet on Monday when VH-OEJ departed Sydney at 10:15am for a one-hour tour of the city.
Australian Aviation photographer Seth Jaworski was in the sky himself to document the take-off and water cannon salute for the aircraft dubbed The Queen of the Skies.
Monday’s event was the first of three special goodbye flights, with another set for Brisbane on Wednesday and Canberra on Friday. The very last flight, QF7474, will take place at 2pm on 22 July from Sydney to Los Angeles.
Owen Zupp has flown the 747 multiple times and was among those at the event this morning in Sydney.
He told Australian Aviation the aircraft brings back fond memories both on the flight deck and at a port of call. He added that travelling on a 747 expands the joy of an overseas holiday, and said it’s “one of the magical things about the aircraft”.
Another excited attendee, university student and aviation enthusiast Jack, said he had “two laptops going” in order to secure his ticket to the event, which was said to have sold out within minutes of being launched to the public last week.
Jack’s father, Michael, also has fond memories of travelling on the 747 and said it “really opened up the world to everyone, so it’s a pretty sad day really.”
Meanwhile, Qantas employee Juliette, who worked on the 747 in the past, revealed her passion for the aircraft was fuelled by travelling on it when her family emigrated to Australia when she was just 11.
“It felt like home, even to be leaving family, there’s something magical about the aircraft, and especially flying with Qantas,” she said.
Even as someone on Qantas payroll, Juliette had to be online and ready to buy her tickets as soon as they came available, and was lucky enough to secure two tickets – with one lovingly gifted to her mother.
Proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to the HARS Aviation Museum in NSW and the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach, Queensland. Both currently have 747s on public display.
Qantas had planned to phase out the 747 at the end of the year, but brought its plans forward due to the coronavirus pandemic.