Qantas has retired its oldest Boeing 747 and the only remaining jumbo jet not to have been upgraded with a modern interior. VH-OEB, named Philip Island, operated its last commercial flight last Sunday as QF73 from Sydney to San Francisco. This aircraft, which is also the oldest in the entire Qantas fleet, will turn 27 years old next week.
VH-OEB was the only remaining Qantas 747-400 not to have been refurbished with lie-flat Business seats and upgraded in-flight entertainment systems. This aircraft was also unique for its 14 older-style First Class seats fitted inside the nose of the lower deck.
Shortly after landing in San Francisco last Sunday, VH-OEB positioned to Los Angeles. Its final flight will be from Los Angeles to the aircraft graveyard in Tupelo, Mississippi.
There are now just seven Boeing 747s left in the Qantas fleet. The remaining jumbo jets have been refurbished and are all less than 20 years old. Nonetheless, Qantas plans to retire all of these planes by 2020.
Qantas currently uses Boeing 747s on just five routes; from Sydney to Johannesburg, Santiago, Tokyo-Haneda, San Francisco and Honolulu. The 747s are also used to operate a 3x weekly Sydney-Vancouver seasonal service over December and January. But the Sydney-Honolulu route will revert to using Airbus A330s from 28 August 2019, and the final Qantas 747 flight to San Francisco (and the USA) will be on 3 December 2019.
After the retirement of VH-OEB, Qantas only has one unrefurbished international aircraft left with angle-flat SkyBed (Mark 1) Business seats and an outdated in-flight entertainment system. The Airbus A330-200 with registration VH-EBG continues to operate on domestic routes, as well as regular flights to Auckland and Singapore. This aircraft still has not been refurbished with the newer-style A330 Business suites, however an upgrade is imminent.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas orders six more 787s, plans to retire all 747s by 2020