Brisbane Farewells the Queen of The Skies

Last Saturday, VH-OJS – A Qantas 747-438 operated the last scheduled commercial flight out of Brisbane Airport as QF56 to Sydney. Qantas was the last airline to operate the 747’s into Brisbane Airport. Since November 1987, Qantas has been operating many variants of the aircraft to destinations in America and South East Asia. 

From the 1st September, Qantas swapped the QF15/16 flight from the 747 to the 787-9 Dreamliners. The very same day, Qantas introduced a second service using the 747 departing at 5.25pm three days a week.
As of the 1st of December, the aircraft has been replaced with the new 787-9. 

VH-OJS ‘Hamilton Island’, the 747-400 that operated QF56 last Saturday.

Although this is the last scheduled commercial flight for the Qantas 747’s, there will be a final chartered Antarctic flight in November in 2019, operated by a Qantas 747-438(ER). 

Qantas has already commenced its retirement plans for the 747-400’s, with 21 747-438’s withdrawn. Recently, VH-OJT was retired after operating QF55 from Brisbane to Los Angeles. VH-OJU is expected to be the next aircraft sent to the desert.

What does this mean for the 747:

With the increase in fuel prices and environmental issues, airlines have abandoned the idea that aircraft like the 747 and the Airbus A380 and have opted for more fuel-efficient aircraft like the 787 and the A350. Boeing hasn’t received any orders for the 747-8I, the new generation model of the 747 passenger jet but has for the 747-8F. So, for now the future of the 747 in the hands of the freighter market. Its design and capabilities have shown it to be ideal for this market and cargo airlines have bought into this. Boeing still having 24 deliveries of this model in April 2018 whereas the passenger variant hasn’t received an order since 2015. 

Although the 747 is nearing the end of its career, it has made a mark on the hearts of aviation lovers everywhere. From the pilots and ground crew to those who visit the airport to adore the pure majesty of the 747.

She will be missed. 

Luke Maynard

Aviation Photographer at Brisbane Aiport.

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