Throwback: Qantas’ Boeing 767 Years

Qantas has operated an interesting variety of widebody designs over the years. Arguably the most notable have been the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 double-decker quadjets. However, twin-engine widebodies have also played an important role at the Australian flag carrier. One such design is the Boeing 767, of which Qantas operated two variants.

Qantas Boeing 767
The -300ER was comfortably Qantas’ most common 767 variant. Photo: Ikarasawa via Flickr

The 767-200ER

According to data from ATDB.aero, Qantas has operated 45 aircraft from the Boeing 767 family over the years. Of these, seven are examples of the 767-200ER variant. This version of the aircraft entered service in 1984, and offered greater range than the original 767-200.

Qantas received all seven of its 767-200ERs brand-new in the mid-1980s. The first arrivals were VH-EAJ and VH-EAK, which came onboard in July 1985. Just over two years later, the seventh and final 767-200ER had arrived at Qantas in the form of VH-EAQ.

These aircraft played an important role at the airline, serving Qantas for nearly two decades. The Australian flag carrier eventually began to phase them out in August 2003, and they were all gone by October 2004. Five joined West Dover Llc, of which one remains active today. Once VH-EAL, it now flies for Eastern Airlines at the impressive age of 36 years old.

Qantas Boeing 767
Qantas received its first Boeing 767-200ERs in July 1985. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Dominated by the 767-300ER

While the 767-200ER played a long and important role at Qantas, the type was outnumbered by the larger 767-300ER. This version of Boeing’s twin-engine widebody entered service in 1988, and the Australian flag carrier went on to fly 37 examples of the type.

The first five of these arrived brand-new in the late-1980s. Several more brand-new examples followed throughout the 1990s. However, as the unstoppable tide of time took us into the 21st century, Qantas began to utilize second-hand 767-300ERs. Seven of these joined from oneworld partner British Airways, with a further seven leased from Air Canada.

Apart from the aforementioned short-term Air Canada leases, Qantas’ 767-300ERs typically left the Australian flag carrier in the early and mid-2010s. The last to go were VH-OGL, -OGM, and -OGO, which departed on December 27th, 2014. Almost all of Qantas’ former 767-300ERs remain active today, albeit primarily in cargo-carrying capacities.

British Airways Boeing 767 Getty
Qantas was a key destination for BA’s withdrawn 767s. Photo: Getty Images

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Two canceled 767-200s

Interestingly, ATDB.aero also reports that Qantas had canceled acquisitions for examples of the original, non-ER 767-200 model. These aircraft were set to bear the registrations VH-EAM and VH-EAN, and join in September and October 1985 respectively.

These jets instead ended up joining the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in 1985, before moving on to Air China three years later. One of them was destroyed after a crash in Busan, South Korea in April 2002, which sadly killed 129 of its 166 occupants. Meanwhile, the other example was only withdrawn this year following 36 years of service.

Were you aware that Qantas used to fly the Boeing 767? Did you ever fly on one of these at the Australian flag carrier yourself? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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