The last Qantas Boeing 747 carrying passengers farewelled Sydney this morning with an hour-long joy flight that set social media alight.
It was a display fit for a Queen, as the last Boeing 747 in the Qantas fleet (VH-OEJ) cruised low over Sydney this morning, farewelling the Harbour City after nearly 50 years of service.
The much-loved “Queen of the Skies” departed Sydney Airport at 10.15am on a 90 minute joy flight over the city and up the coast ahead of her retirement next week.
A host of dignitaries and frequent flyer members secured seats on the nostalgic flight, including NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres, the chairman of the Tourism and Transport Forum Bruce Baird and its chief executive Margy Osmond.
Flight QF747 departed to the south, heading over Cronulla and the Sutherland Shire (above) before turning right for a fly over of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
The red-tailed ‘roo set social media alight as it looped over the harbour and eastern suburbs before heading north towards the Central Coast. It returned via the north-western suburbs for a final Harbour fly over.
Heading for Sydney’s south-western suburbs, it passed over Campbelltown and as far south as Wollongong, before a final lap over the Royal National Park and Sydney’s inner west.
QF747 landed at Sydney Airport at 11.37am.
Aviation buffs around Brisbane and the Gold Coast (July 15) and Canberra (July 17) will also have a chance to farewell the airline’s most trusted workhorse. The planned Melbourne flight was a coronavirus casualty.
VH-OEJ will leave Australia for good around 2pm on July 22, departing Sydney one last time as flight QF7474.
The airline, long synonymous with big planes and long-haul flights, now prefers A330s and Boeing 787-9s for international travel.
As a result, the fourth Qantas A380 (VH-OQH) has been sent to the Southern California Logistics Airport at Victorville in the United States for longterm storage.
Qantas plans to park its entire A380 Airbus fleet over the next three years due to the downturn in international travel caused by COVID-19, prompting some to question whether the A380s will ever return to service.
© 2020 BERNARD O’RIORDAN (TRAVEL INSTINCT). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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