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[EN] Qantas realiza seus últimos voos com o Boeing 747

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Qantas Airways Completes First 747 Farewell Flights

Qantas Airways Completes First 747 Farewell Flights
July 13

MIAMI – Qantas Airways (QF) flew the first of three special jumbo farewell flights today, as the airline prepares to retire the last Boeing 747 aircraft from the fleet.

Named the “Jumbo Joy Flights”, the flight’s sole purpose is to give a well-deserved goodbye to the 747, after 50 years of service with the airline.

The first special flight departed from Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport, where the remaining Boeing 747 aircraft have been stored during the COVID-19 period. VH-OEJ, a Boeing 747-438ER delivered to the airline in July of 2003 is the final 747 in the Qantas fleet.



The flight taxied through a water salute provided by Sydney Airport’s emergency services, before departing runway 16R for a 54-minute scenic flight around Sydney. The aircraft departed at 10:36 am and landed back at Sydney Airport at 11:30 am.

QF747, “the flight to farewell the Queen of the Skies” fully sold out in 8 minutes, carrying aviation enthusiasts, former pilots, engineers, and cabin crew in which the 747 played an important role in their lives. Once the aircraft arrived back into Sydney, a larger group of aviation enthusiasts awaited the aircraft as it towed into the Qantas hangar.



The final two flights will depart from Canberra on the 15th of July and Brisbane on the 17th of July. The final flight will be on the 22nd of July, in which VH-OEJ will depart Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, perform a low pass over Wollongong Airport, 90km from Sydney where VH-OJA, the first Boeing 747-400 is parked.

The flight will then direct to Los Angeles, and the aircraft will be flown one final time to Mojave Airport, where the airframe will most likely be scrapped.

Qantas announced that all proceeds from these farewell flights will be donated to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society in Wollongong, the current owners of VH-OJA, the first Boeing 747-400 in the Qantas fleet.



Qantas took delivery of the Boeing 747 on 16th August, 1971 with the registration VH-EBA, a Boeing 747-238B named the “City of Canberra.” Qantas went on to operate almost every variant of the Boeing 747, including:

  • Boeing 747-200
  • Boeing 747-200 Combi (Half passenger and half freighter.)
  • Boeing 747SP (A shortened version of the Boeing 747)
  • Boeing 747-300 (One which carried the famous Nalanji Dreaming livery)
  • Boeing 747-400 (VH-OJA, a Qantas Boeing 747-400 performed the longest flight at the time from Sydney to London direct in 1989. The flight duration was 20 hours and 9 minutes and covered a distance of 9,720 nautical miles.
  • Boeing 747-400ER.
  • QF747-3-watermark-0665-1024x683.jpg


Over the past 49 years, the airline has operated 65 Boeing 747 aircraft, and has carried millions of passengers to and from Australia.

Qantas originally planned to retire the Boeing 747 by the end of 2020, in time for their 100 year anniversary. However, due to the COVID-19 impact on international travel, retirement was brought forward earlier this year.

The Boeing 787-9, ordered by Qantas in 2015 is the predecessor to the Boeing 747 within the Qantas fleet, rapidly overtaking pre-existing 747 flights pre COVID. The airline currently has 11 Boeing 787-9 aircraft in the fleet, with another 3 more on order.


Qantas Airbus A380 VH-OQK rolling down Sydney Airport’s runway 16R. Qantas plans to store the A380 for at least 3 years. Photo: Mitch Coad @meeshboiaviation


As Qantas does not plan to resume international flights until July 2021, the Airbus A380 fleet is also being stored in Victorville, with the first A380 VH-OQE arriving into Victorville Logistics Airport for storage on July 6th. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce stated that the A380’s will remain stored at Victorville for at least 3 years.

The Qantas Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 were stored at Sydney after the initial international flight grounding back in March. A good portion of the Qantas A330 fleet has also been parked, along with a considerable quantity of the airlines Boeing 737 fleet. The Boeing 787 fleet for the most part is also grounded, all across various airports in Australia.


Qantas Boeing 747-438 VH-OJU parked at the 2019 Avalon Airshow, being extremely photogenic! Photo: Mitch Coad @meeshboiaviation


VH-OEJ was the second aircraft to wear the Wunala Dreaming livery from 2003 to 2012, where it was repainted back into the mainstream Qantas livery. OEJ still wears a small Kangaroo logo near the flight-deck window, to signify it’s past.

The Qantas 747 was up until earlier this year was used on flights to Tokyo, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Johannesburg, and Santiago from Sydney. Qantas switched their 747 services to a Boeing 787-9 aircraft for the LAX and SFO routes at the end of last year.

The passengers from today’s flight were given a certificate to commemorate their attendance onboard QF747, along with a memory that will last a lifetime. Qantas 747, Queen of the Skies, the flying Kangaroo Jumbo, whatever you call it, thank you for your service!


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Qantas Bids Farewell To The Queen 

Qantas Bids Farewell To The Queen (+Photos)
July 25

LOS ANGELES – Qantas has this week bid a proper farewell to its Boeing 747 as the last flights operated into Los Angeles and headed inbound for the Mojave Desert.


On Wednesday, July 22, after lots of media attention, the most iconic bird in Australia pushed back from Terminal One, taxied alongside runway 16R on Charlie past Shep’s Mound, was given a water cannon salute, across 16R at Lima, and up Alpha to the top of 16R where VH-OEJ departed Sydney for the last time.


VH-OEJ seen in Sydney on July 22 for its departure to Los Angeles. Photo: Charlie Carter via AlphaCharliePhotos on Facebook & Instagram


VH-OEJ seen in Sydney on July 22 for its departure to Los Angeles. Photo: Charlie Carter via AlphaCharliePhotos on Facebook & Instagram


VH-OEJ seen in Sydney on July 22 for its departure to Los Angeles. Photo: Charlie Carter via AlphaCharliePhotos on Facebook & Instagram

She made a right-hand loop to overfly the airport and began a series of low passes around downtown Sydney at 1,200 feet.

After 40 minutes of low flyovers including a short visit south to fly over Wollongong, and once off the coast of Australia, the crew drew a large Kangaroo in the flight path before embarking across the Pacific to Los Angeles.


VH-OEJ on final approach into Los Angeles International Airport. Photo: Ryan Patterson


VH-OEJ on final approach into Los Angeles International Airport. Photo: Ryan Patterson


VH-OEJ slowing down on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport. Photo: Ryan Patterson

It was a gloomy afternoon in Los Angeles on July 22, fitting the mood for aviation enthusiasts that day. QF7474 began descent via the GOATZ1 arrival and landed on 25L at 1323L for the last time.


VH-OEJ seen on the pushback at Los Angeles International Airport. Photo: Ryan Patterson


VH-OEJ moments away from completing the pushback. Photo: Ryan Patterson


VH-OEJ from directly above after it had just completed its pushback. Photo: Ryan Patterson


VH-OEJ receiving a water-cannon salute as it taxis out of LAX one last time. Photo: Ryan Patterson


Photo of the aircraft departing LAX for the last time. Photo: Ryan Patterson


Photo of the aircraft departing LAX for the last time. Photo: Ryan Patterson

She rolled to the full length on 25L and taxied to the QF maintenance facility where she’d spend the last 2 days of her life with Qantas.

The morning of the final Qantas 747 departure on July 24 was a gloomy one as well. The LA marine layer loved to stick around far into the morning.

Qantas had a small celebration and farewell before VH-OEJ closed her doors for the last time around 1030L.

The clouds had started to break, giving the many planespotters watching opportunity for some well-lit photos. 20 minutes later, with all the employees lined up along the taxiway, QF7474 started her engines and taxied under a water cannon salute and onto Bravo to 25R.

Prior to departure, the air traffic controller gave a nod to the final flight, allowing several aircraft hold short of 25R letting them know it was the last time they’d ever seen an active Qantas 747.

Said controller had a few special words for QF7474 as well as he cleared her for takeoff one last time, saying “Qantas 7474 Heavy Runway 25R, for the very last time, cleared for takeoff!” 

QF7474 read it back saying, “Qantas 7474 Heavy for the very last time after 49 years, 25R cleared for takeoff, thank you guys, we really appreciate your professionalism and keeping us safe here for so long.”

The controller stated: “Always appreciate you guys around here I’m going to miss that airplane.”

“So will we”

And one last time a handoff to SoCal Departure, “Qantas 7474 Heavy contact departure, congrats again.”

“Qantas 7474 Heavy to departure, goodbye guys, thanks!”

Departure time was 1120 and she promptly touched down in Mojave 30 minutes later at 1150 after a low pass over MHV before joining her fellow 747s, ending an era in Australian aviation that started in 1971.

A Qantas Airways (QF) 747 was a common site at LAX since the QF purchased them in 1971.

Until August 2018, the 747 would fly from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles and since 1999 she would continue on to New York City.


Photo: Luca Flores

On August 31, 2018, VH-OJT was the last 747 to fly from JFK to LAX, before being replaced by the 787, and the Melbourne route had long since been flown by a Dreamliner. 


After that day in 2018, as Qantas began to phase out the 747, LAX’s only QF 747 visits were retirement flights for each 747, flying one last time with passengers under the flight number QF99, and then they would continue onto their respective resting places.

VH-OEF was the last 747 to operate QF99, touching down at LAX on February 9. OEF would continue on to San Bernardino only 20 minutes away to retire. 


Photo: Luca Flores

The current pandemic obviously and unfortunately accelerated the retirement of what were the then 4 remaining 747s, OEH, OEI, OEE, and OEJ.

The aircraft were originally planned to be stored and reactivated but as the pandemic raged on Qantas made the decision to retire them for good.

Each 747 was flown to LAX in the above order, as flight QF6001 from Sydney to LAX and then finally to the Mojave Desert. 


Photo: Luca Flores

VH-OEE flew from LAX to MHV on June 17, 2020 at 1014L. After that, there was one left.


Despite the pandemic, which we should note was very under control in Australia, Qantas announced their schedule for “joyrides,” flights that would overfly their respective cities for those who wanted to fly the 747 one last time.

After a long hiatus from flying, VH-OEJ took to the skies of Sydney on July 13 at 1030L, giving fans an aerial tour of Sydney and the surrounding areas.


Photo: Luca Flores

She then flew to Brisbane (BNE) to do a joyride, and then to Canberra (CBR) via Sydney to do the same. On July 17, exactly one month after OEE had flown to Mojave, OEJ flew from CBR to SYD to prepare for her final send-off. 


Named “Wunala” and originally in the “Wunala Dreaming” aboriginal livery, VH-OEJ was the last 747-400 to be delivered to Qantas and only one of 6 -ER variants.


Photo: Luca Flores

Wunala was delivered in November 2003 making her just 17 years young.

Over the course of her 17-year life, she wore 4 different liveries, Wunala Dreaming, Socceroos World Cup, Olympic Games 2016, and the normal Qantas livery. 

Overall, this is yet again another end of an era as we begin to see more airlines retire its Boeing 747 fleet.

Going into the future, there has got to be some hope for an aircraft of this calibre to fly again.


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