Qantas has confirmed the last flight date of one of their Boeing 747 aircraft. The Australian carrier announced that the Boeing 747-438, with registration VH-OJU, will serve its final journey after nearly 20 years. The flight will be available as part of Qantas’ next deal on their Points Plane programme.
The aircraft was affectionately named “Lord Howe Island” after the tiny island in the Tasman Sea. It will be making its departure from Sydney Airport on 13th October 2019 at 17:00. The airliner will then arrive at its final destination at Los Angeles International Airport at 12:50.
Seats for this trip will be available exclusively for Qantas Frequent Flyers up until midnight of 2nd September 2019. Any seats not booked after this date will be available for public purchase.
The Qantas Points Planes are dedicated flights exclusively reserved for Qantas Frequent Flyers. Every single seat is a Classic Flight Reward and can only be initially booked with Qantas Points.
The 747-438 has 58 business class seats, 36 premium economy seats and 270 economy seats. An economy purchase on this milestone flight will cost 41,900 points plus A$205. A premium economy transaction will cost 72,000 points plus A$405 while business is priced at 96,000 points plus A$480.
End of an era
Aussie Airliners state that this model was the 116th new Boeing airliner and the 51st 747 delivered to Qantas Airways. It made its first flight after registering on 18th January 2000. This retirement means that Qantas’ Boeing 747-400 fleet will be reduced to six aircraft.
The fleet will eventually be retired altogether next year. Qantas made the decision to exercise options for a further six 787-9s in order to be able to retire the last of its 747-400s. They also have an option for 38 more aircraft of this range.
The VH-OJS was retired in February 2019 after a scheduled flight to San Francisco. Along with this, Qantas retired its then oldest 747, VH-OED on June 4th. The 27-year-old aircraft operated QF73 from Sydney to San Francisco.
Qantas’ relationship with the 747 started in 1967 when they first ordered four 747Bs. The first of these took service in September 1971, and soon the carrier would use almost every main 747 variant. These included the 747SP, the 747 Combi, the 747-300, the 747-400, and the 747‑400ER.
The next decade will be a busy period for the Australian outfit as they prepare for Project Sunrise This project will see Qantas offering direct flights from Sydney to both London and New York.
The completion of this task will see the airline overtake the current longest flight, which is between Singapore and New York. Qantas’ own longest flight served is the non-stop flight between London Heathrow and Perth. This flight takes 16 hours altogether.
The retirement of the 747 will be an end of an era for Qantas with its rich history with the aircraft. However, with investment in new aircraft and grand projects, the next chapter is set to be as colourful.
A Qantas media release says that since its delivery, the VH-OJU has flown approximately 80 million kilometres. This is the equivalent of 20,000 trips around the world. After landing in Los Angeles the airliner will be transferred over to another, currently undisclosed operator to continue serving.