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Final 747 Flight As Qantas Farewells "Queen of the Skies"

by GoNews Desk 3 months ago Views 893
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Qantas 747 Draws Kangaroo In The Sky Before Retirement

Qantas on Wednesday marked the end of an era with the departure of the national carrier’s last Boeing 747 jumbo jet.

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The final 747-400 in the fleet (registration VH-OEJ) departed Sydney at 2pm local time as flight number QF7474, bringing to an end five decades of history-making moments for the national carrier and aviation in Australia.

Qantas took delivery of its first 747 (a -200 series) in August 1971, the same year that William McMahon became Prime Minister, the first McDonalds opened in Australia and Eagle Rock by Daddy Cool topped the music charts. Its arrival – and its economics – made international travel possible for millions of people for the first time.

 

The fleet of 747 aircraft not only carried generations of Australians on their first overseas adventures, they also offered a safe voyage for hundreds of thousands of migrant families who flew to their new life in Australia on board a ‘roo tailed jumbo jet.

(Qantas 747 Draws Kangaroo In The Sky Before Retirement)

Qantas 747s were at the forefront of a number of important milestones for the airline, including the first Business Class cabin of any airline in the world. Their size, range and reliability meant they were used for numerous rescue missions: flying a record 674 passengers out of Darwin in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy; evacuating Australians out of Cairo during political unrest in 2011 and flying medical supplies in and tourists home from the Maldives and Sri Lanka following the Boxing Day Tsunami in December 2004.

The last rescue missions the 747 flew for Qantas were to bring hundreds of stranded Australians home from the COVID-19 epicentre of Wuhan in February this year.

Qantas brought forward the scheduled retirement of the fleet by six months after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated international travel globally.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the 747 changed the face of Australian aviation and ushered in a new era of lower fares and non-stop flights.

“It’s hard to overstate the impact that the 747 had on aviation and a country as far away as Australia. It replaced the 707, which was a huge leap forward in itself but didn’t have the sheer size and scale to lower airfares the way the 747 did. That put international travel within reach of the average Australian and people jumped at the opportunity,” Mr Joyce said.

“This aircraft was well ahead of its time and extremely capable. Engineers and cabin crew loved working on them and pilots loved flying them. So did passengers. They have carved out a very special place in aviation history and I know they’ll be greatly missed by a lot of people, including me.

“Time has overtaken the 747 and we now have a much more fuel efficient aircraft with even better range in our fleet, such as the 787 Dreamliner that we use on Perth-London and hopefully before too long, the Airbus A350 for our Project Sunrise flights non-stop to New York and London,” added Mr Joyce.

The Qantas 747's last resting place is the Mojave Desert in the US.

Qantas operated a total number of 65 747 aircraft including the 747-100, 747-200, 747-SP, 747-300, 747-400 and the 747-400ER and each had specific capabilities such as increased thrust engines and increased take-off weight to allow longer range operations.

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