Qantas is planning a momentous send-off for the iconic Boeing 747 aircraft, which will retire after close to 50 years of servicing Qantas flights.
The airline will send its only surviving 747 on a series of one-hour joy flights departing Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra so fans can bid their farewell to the Queen of the Skies.
But it won’t come cheap – tickets are priced at $747 for business class and $400 for economy, in a nod to the Boeing 747-400 aircraft series.
Tickets go on sale on at midnight on Wednesday for the Sydney flight on July 13, Brisbane flight on July 15 and Canberra flight on July 17.
Australians board a Qantas 747 jumbo at Cairo International Airport in February 2011.Source:Supplied
Cargo from New Zealand is unloaded from a Qantas 747 at Adelaide Airport in June 1983.Source:News Corp Australia
Limited ticket sales will allow passengers to enjoy the views and extra space on board.
Profits from the flights will be donated to HARS Aviation Museum near Wollongong, NSW, and the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach, Queensland, which both have 747s on display.
There will be no 747 joy flight in Melbourne due to Victoria’s worsening virus outbreak.
The four-engine, double-decker 747 made its Qantas debut in 1971 and was a workhorse of its international network, flying to key ports such as Singapore, London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
A Qantas flight attendant poses on a 747 in 1971.Source:News Corp Australia
Qantas engineers work on a 747 before the first direct flight from direct Adelaide to Japan flight on July 2, 1989.Source:News Corp Australia
It remained the world’s largest commercial aircraft until it was replaced by the Airbus A380 super jumbo in 2007, and has since been phased out in favour of the lighter and more efficient 787 Dreamliner.
Qantas had planned to retire its 747 fleet by the end of the year but the date was brought forward due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final 747-400 in the Qantas fleet will take off from Sydney at about 2pm on July 22 as flight QF7474.
A Qantas 747 recently brought home evacuees from Wuhan Province in China. Picture: Che ChorleySource:News Corp Australia
“The 747 has been a magnificent aircraft and it’s fitting that we celebrate the end of five decades of history-making moments for the national carrier and aviation in Australia,” Qantas 747 Fleet Captain Owen Weaver said
“Since the first 747 joined the Qantas fleet in 1971, these aircraft have operated numerous rescue flights to bring Australians home during times of crisis and provided a safe passage for many travellers taking their first international flight to or from Australia.”
Qantas said there had been huge interest from passengers in flying the iconic aircraft once more before it officially left the skies.
The last Qantas 747 will take its final flight on July 22.Source:News Regional Media
“These three flights will offer the final opportunity to fly on the Qantas 747 before it leaves, with some of our frequent flyers and aviation enthusiasts as fond of the aircraft as we are, having spent thousands of hours on board over the years,” Mr Weaver said.
“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.”
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