Tag Archives: VH-OEJ

QANTAS today bids farewell to the Boeing 747

QANTAS Airways made this announcement:

QANTAS will today (July 22) mark the end of an era with the departure of the national carrier’s last Boeing 747 jumbo jet.

The final Boeing 747-400 in the fleet (registration VH-OEJ) (above) will depart Sydney at 2 pm 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.

Above Photo: QANTAS. In the 1990s QANTAS commissioned two striking Indigenous liveries for 747s as part of its Flying Art Series. The Nalanji Dreaming livery (front) featured on VH-EBU, with Wunala Dreaming (behind) adorning two 747s (VH-OJB and VH-OEJ).

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 incredible 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 epicenter 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 has flown six different types of the 747, with Boeing increasing the aircraft’s size, range and capability over the years with the advent of new technology and engine types.

QANTAS’s first female Captain, Sharelle Quinn, will be in command of the final flight and said the aircraft has a very special place in the hearts of not just QANTAS staff, but aviation enthusiasts and travelers alike.

Captain Quinn and crew will fly the 747 to Los Angeles with a full cargo hold of freight before its final sector to the Mojave.

VH-OEJ is scheduled to depart Sydney at 2.00 pm. Weather permitting, it will do a flyby of Sydney Harbour, CBD and northern and eastern suburbs beaches as well as a low level overfly of HARS Museum (Albion Park) where it will dip the wings in a final farewell to QANTAS’ first 747-400, VH-OJA, which is preserved there.

The aircraft will then head out over the Pacific Ocean, as the sun sets on a 50-year love affair with Australians and their beloved Queen of The Skies.

Fast Facts

Flight number:              QF7474

Aircraft registration:      VH-OEJ

Aircraft name:               Wunala

Year delivered:             2003 (30th July)

  • The first QANTAS 747-238 was VH-EBA, named City of Canberra and the first ever QANTAS 747 flight was on September 17, 1971 from Sydney to Singapore (via Melbourne), carrying 55 first class and 239 economy passengers.
  • In almost 50 years of service, the QANTAS Boeing 747 fleet of aircraft has flown over 3.6 billion kilometers, the equivalent of 4,700 return trips to the moon or 90,000 times around the world.
  • QANTAS operated a total number of 65 747 aircraft including the 747-100, 747-200, 747SP, 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.
  • The 747SP was the first 747 model that allowed nonstop operations across the Pacific in 1984 which meant travelers no longer had to “hop” their way across the Pacific and could fly from Australia to the west coast of the US nonstop. The 747-400 which QANTAS operated from 1989 opened up the US west coast cities nonstop, and one-stop to European capitals.
  • In 1979, QANTAS became the first airline to operate an all Boeing 747 fleet.
  • The 747 also broke records, including in 1989 when QANTAS crew flew a world first nonstop commercial flight from London to Sydney in 20 hours and nine minutes. That thirty-year record was only broken in 2019 when QANTAS operated a 787 Dreamliner London-Sydney direct in 19 hours and 19 minutes.
  • The QANTAS 747-200, -300 and -400 models had a fifth engine pod capability that could carry an additional engine on commercial flights, a capability that was used extensively in early days of the 747-200 when engine reliability required engines to be shipped to all parts of the world. Improved engine reliability of the 747-400 and 747-400ER made this capability redundant.


QANTAS Airways aircraft photo gallery:

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show:


QANTAS operates its first Boeing 747 farewell flight

QANTAS Airways Boeing 747-438 ER VH-OEJ (msn 32914) BNE (Peter Gates). Image: 908305.

QANTAS Airways today (July 13) operated its first Boeing 747-400 farewell flight from Sydney with VH-OEJ.


The special flight s continue on July 15 in Brisbane and on July 17 in Canberra.

Previously QANTAS announced a program of events to farewell its last remaining Boeing 747 and provide Australians the opportunity to say goodbye to the much loved “Queen of the Skies” ahead of its retirement from the national carrier’s fleet.

The airline will operate three one-hour “farewell jumbo joy flights” departing from Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane, in response to requests from employees and customers for one final chance to fly on the aircraft.

QANTAS 747 Fleet Captain Owen Weaver said the 747 has a special place in the hearts of many Australians.

“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,” Captain 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.

“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 onboard over the years.

“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.”

The flights will go on sale at midday on Wednesday 8 July on Qantas.com and will operate on Monday, July 13 (Sydney), Wednesday, July 15 (Brisbane) and Friday, July 17 (Canberra). Economy fares cost $400 and a small number of Business Class tickets will be available for $747 with additional extras included.

Seats will be limited to maximise passenger comfort (in line with other previously operated joy flights).

The flights will be operated on a cost-recovery basis and profits will be donated to the HARS Aviation Museum at Albion Park (Wollongong) and the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach to support their efforts to preserve and promote the 747 legacy for future generations. Both museums have a QANTAS 747 on public display.

The final 747-400 in the fleet will depart Sydney at approximately 2 pm on July 22, 2020 as flight QF7474.

Prior to its final departure on July 22, QANTAS will host a hangar farewell event for employees.

Top Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways Boeing 747-438 ER VH-OEJ (msn 32914) BNE (Peter Gates). Image: 908305.

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show:

QANTAS Airways to return to Vancouver with seasonal services

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) has announced it will return to Vancouver for the northern hemisphere summer season on the Sydney-Vancouver route starting on June 20. The restored route will be operated three days a week.

QANTAS will operate 33 roundtrip flights between Sydney and Vancouver – 13 in June/July, and 20 from mid-December to late January 2016, operated by a three-cabin, 364-seat refurbished Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

In other news, QANTAS is also making improvements to its Honolulu services with schedule changes to improve arrival and departure times in Honolulu. The new times will open up more onward connections to other Hawaiian Islands, and will also facilitate a fifth weekly service to operate on Mondays during peak seasons, from September 7 – October 19, 2015 and November 30, 2015 – January 25, 2016.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-438 ER VH-OEJ (msn 32914) in the special “Proudly Supporting the Socceroos” livery arrives at Los Angeles International Airport.

QANTAS aircraft slide show:

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