Qantas Begins 747 Farewell Flights

Australian flag carrier Qantas has begun its programme of farewell trips in its last Boeing 747 ahead of the type’s retirement from airline service on July 22. 

The carrier operated the first of three one-hour “farewell jumbo joy flights”, after departing from Sydney today (July 13) – the remaining two services are scheduled to leave Canberra and Brisbane on July 15 and 17, respectively.  

The aircraft, VH-OEJ (c/n 32914) has been in service with Qantas since July 2003. PxHere Commons/Don Blackmore

According to the airline, the flights will “allow Australians the opportunity to say goodbye to the much loved ‘Queen of the Skies’ ahead of its retirement”. 

The aircraft, VH-OEJ (c/n 32914) is the last remaining Boeing 747 in Qantas’ fleet. The widebody joined the airline in July 2003 and since March 23 this year, has been in storage at Sydney/Kingsford Smith because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The hour-long flight departed Sydney just after 10.30am local time towards the south, before it turned around and headed north bound up the coast until it reached Central Coast where it then began its return to the airport. 

The flight, which lasted just over one hour, took place below 8,000ft. Flightradar24

The 17-year-old Jumbo flew at low altitude for the majority of the trip as its altitude peaked at just under 8,000ft. 

Owen Weaver, Qantas 747 fleet captain, commented: “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.” 

As the global fleet of Boeing 747s reduces, Key.Aero spoke to a retired British Airways 747 training captain about what it was like to fly this special jet.