Qantas to retire final 2 Boeing 747s this month

Jun 16, 2020

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Qantas plans to retire the last of its two Boeing 747s this month. As first reported by Executive Traveller, the Australian carrier will send its last two Queen of the Skies to their desert retirement without much fanfare.

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The carrier only has two 747s still in service — both of which were in storage at Sydney Airport (SYD) since late March. Qantas first announced their retirements in March but kept the final two planes stored in Sydney before officially retiring them this month.

Related: 50 years of the Boeing 747 in 11 photos

VH-OEE is a nearly 18-year-old aircraft, according to PlaneSpotters, while VH-OEJ is nearly 17 years old. On 16 June, VH-OEE operated its first flight since late March between Sydney (SYD) and Los Angeles (LAX) as flight QF6001. Once it arrives at LAX, it will operate one last flight to Victorville (VCV), where it’ll join the already-retired 747s. VH-OEJ is set to make its final flight towards retirement this month.

Related: Where planes go to die: A guide to aircraft boneyards

(Image courtesy of FlightRadar24)

Executive Traveller reports that Qantas started the year with six 747s in its fleet. Now, once VH-OEE and VH-OEJ reach their final resting place in the desert, the airline’s fleet will be forever-changed.

The airline had long planned to retire the Queen of the Skies from its fleet, however, the coronavirus crisis accelerated those plans. The much-loved 747 — like its fellow superjumbo the Airbus A380 — have been deemed too big for a number of airlines, given the reduced demand for air travel.

The 747 has been replaced by the more fuel-efficient twin-engine Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which also features a more modern business-class product.

Related: Farewell to a queen: What it was like to be on the last revenue flight of a Qantas 747-400

Unfortunately for these final two 747s, there is no celebratory final flights or fanfare. They’ll quietly fly to the desert and their final resting spot.

Featured photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images.

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