Farwell to Qantas’s first jumbo jet

Just this month Qantas announced that the last of the well-loved Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet will be retired. This announcement has slipped quietly into the news, being overshadowed by COVID-19.

The iconic aircraft, having served Qantas for nearly 50 years got a send off with three joy flights over Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra earlier this month. The flights occurred on Monday 13th for Sydney, Wednesday the 15th for Brisbane, and Friday the 17th for Canberra. The flights operated on a ‘cost recovery’ basis and profits were donated to HARS Aviation Museum and the Qantas Founders Museum.

The airline has planned to replace these double-decker planes with more efficient 787 Dreamliners. Sadly only one 747 is now part of Qantas’ fleet. We will all miss the iconic aircraft, Captain Owen Weaver said the 747 has a special place in the hearts of many Australians and stated:

“There is an enormous amount of nostalgia and affection associated with our 747 and for those who miss out on a seat on the flight, they will at least be able to catch a glimpse of the aircraft as it takes to Australian skies for the last time.”

The Boeing 747 begun it’s career on the 30th of September, 1968, with it’s first commercial flight from New York to London with Pan American World Airways. The aircraft brought with it a new era for long-haul travel, flying further and faster than other aircraft at the time. The first Qantas 747 took off as the largest commercial aircraft in 1971 and remained so until 2007.

FAREWELL TO THE QANTAS JUMBO: The first Qantas Boeing 747 jumbo jet in 1971. The original caption in The Age read: "This ...

Qantas was able to fly long distances with the 747 and managed to put in force new record breaking routes, for example the flight in 1989 from London to Sydney. On this flight there were no passengers and special fuel was used, however it remained the first non-stop flight between London and Australia until 2018.

The jumbo was also the aircraft of choice for scenic flights from Australia to Antarctica. These flights operated by Antarctica Flights who leased the Qantas jets and used the airline’s pilots and cabin crew.

The Boeing 747 jumbo jet served Qantas for nearly 50 years.

Qantas used the 747 to launch its non-stop Sydney-Dallas route in 2011. For a time this became the longest light across the globe after Singapore Airlines cancelled its Singapore-New York flight in 2013.

We bid a nostalgic farewell to this much loved Aussie icon and will not forget it’s vital part in the history of modern aviation. As Qantas 747 Captain Owen Weaver remarked:

The 747 has been a magnificent aircraft…. we celebrate the end of five decades of history-making moments for the national carrier and aviation in Australia,”


image sources: https://www.traveller.com.au/qantas-boeing-747-retirement-farewell-flights-for-jumbo-jets-to-go-on-sale-h1p6hg