The Last Qantas 747 Flight Could Be This Week

The Last Qantas 747 Flight Could Be This WeekUpdate (29 March 2020): The final Qantas 747 flight will now be QF28 from Santiago, which is expected to land in Sydney around 5.30pm on Sunday 29 March 2020. VH-OEE (named Nullarbor) is the operating aircraft. The reason for the change is that the final QF64 was cancelled and the final QF28 service was delayed by 24 hours.

We’ve known for a little while that the retirement of Qantas’ Boeing 747 fleet is imminent. Qantas had announced in 2018 that it would retire all Boeing 747s by 2020, although until recently it looked like the planes may remain in the air until early next year.

Well, with the imminent grounding of Qantas’ entire fleet of international passenger aircraft, the final scheduled Qantas 747 flight could be as soon as this week.

At this time, the last Qantas Boeing 747 flight to take place before Qantas grounds all international flights indefinitely will be QF64 from Johannesburg to Sydney, departing on Saturday 28 March 2020. It is scheduled to arrive in Sydney at 3.35pm on Sunday, 29 March 2020.

There are currently just five Boeing 747-400ER aircraft left in the Qantas fleet. Each of these planes is 16-17 years old.

After the end of this month, Qantas currently says that international flights will be grounded until at least the end of May. But this will probably be extended depending on the coronavirus situation and what travel restrictions remain in place at the end of May. It could take six months, or even longer, before regular international service is restored. By this time, Qantas may have already retired its remaining Boeing 747 fleet.

The ageing Boeing 747s are expensive to operate compared to the newer, more fuel-efficient Boeing 787s – which also have more range. And at the moment, Qantas doesn’t need the extra capacity.

When Qantas announced the initial round of international flight cuts on 10 March – before the overseas travel ban – it had already planned to take all 747s out of service (along with most A380s) until mid-September. At this point in time, Qantas is still selling international flights to be operated by Boeing 747s from June – but realistically, these flights are unlikely to take place.

There may be some ad-hoc 747 charter flights over the coming months. But for now, it looks like this could be the end of the line for the “queen of the skies”… at least, in Qantas colours.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

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Elizabeth

Sad, I love the upper deck on the Queen of the skies.

Cathy

Ditto!
Had hoped to fly on the last flight but that’s definitely off the cards now.

charles

regarding your comment above “At this point in time, Qantas is still selling international flights to be operated by Boeing 747s from June – but realistically, these flights are unlikely to take place.” Do you mean, these flights are unlikely to be operated by B744s or do you mean they are unlikely to be operated by any aircraft ? If the latter, don’t you think it’s a bit early to be saying long haul flights won’t be operating in June ? 30 June is over 3 months away. A lot can happen with Corona in 24 hours, let along over… Read more »

marianne

So sad this aircraft has been the most captivating and beautiful aircraft ever. The A380 will never replace her . The upper deck I what stands out. Will miss you

David

Retiring the 747s can’t come soon enough. My last trip on QF64 was in seat 1A, just above the nose wheel. Nasty graunching sounds on the ground at JNB on turns during taxiing. All passengers were looking at each other with OMG expressions! Never mind that the wall surfaces were peeling off in the toilets, the front bin lid was jammed shut etc. etc. Definitely time to say farewell!

Brad swords

When you retire the 747 some could be turned into a hotel at the new airport 😀