On Monday, Qantas flew the first of three farewell flights around Sydney for the airline's 747s. In the coming days, the 747 will fly around Brisbane and Canberra, giving Australians one final look at the Qantas jumbo jet in action. Throughout the plane's nearly fifty-year life at the airline, the 747 has carried a countless number of passengers and cargo. Since the first jumbo jet was delivered to the airline in 1971, the airline has used multiple variants of the aircraft.
In 1967, Qantas ordered their first 747, a -200 variant. By the end of the 1970s, the airline was only operating a single aircraft type: The 747. The Qantas Queen was not only used for commercial flights though. The airline used the 747 for numerous humanitarian missions as well. Most recently, Qantas flew the 747-400 to countries closing down to repatriate Australians due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The -400 is the most modern variant of the jumbo jet that the airline has owned. The first 747-400 was delivered to Qantas in 1989, and all but one of them have been retired in 2020. Many credit last year's project sunrise flight as being the first nonstop flight between the United Kingdom and Australia, but in fact the first nonstop flight connecting the two countries was operated by the airline's first 747-400, registered VH-OJA in August 1989.
By the 1990s, the 747 was the signature aircraft for Qantas; All in all, the airline has operated a total of 30 of these jumbo jets. The 747 was used mostly on Qantas' international flights; At one point. there were 8 Qantas 747 flights to LAX each day.
The Qantas 747 is not only an Australian Icon, but a large part of aviation history. These flights will be missed by many people around the globe. The final two Qantas 747 flyovers will be taking place on Wednesday, July 15 in Brisbane and Friday, July 17 in Canberra.
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