Qantas retires the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet


Qantas last ever 747 flight landed in Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport on Sunday 29 March 2020, with the fleet being retired immediately, instead of February 2021, due to the Covid-19 virus.

Flight QF28 from Santiago de Chile to Sydney was operated with a Boeing 747-406ER (reg.VH-OEE) a 17 year old aircraft. This plane was the Boeing test plane for the Boeing 747-400ER. However, this was the second Boeing 747-400ER delivered to Qantas.

Qantas will have operated the iconic Boeing 747 for almost fifty years. Qantas’ first 747-238B was delivered to Sydney in September 1971. The last Qantas 747 flight to London was in 2010 and to San Francisco was in early December 2019. The fleet was sold to an unknown buyer a few days ago and will ferry to Mojave in California in the upcoming weeks.

Qantas flew to Johannesburg, Tokyo and Santiago with the Boeing 747 and was supposed to retire in February 2021.

She will be missed by all avgeeks around the world.

29 March 2020

All photos: copyright © Maarten Van Den Driessche


  1. What a sad day for a tried, tested and trusted aircraft. I wonder if the replacement aircraft will gain the same reputation? Somehow, I doubt it!!

  2. I was lucky enough to fly in the first Jumbo to Papua New Guinea back in about 1976. It was the introductory flight and we flew low over the PNG Highlands. It was an unforgettable experience bringing the best of 20th Century technology to Stone Age people watching in amazement from their grass hut villages below. It was easily the biggest “balus” (aircraft) that they had ever seen.
    I was the Senior Police Photographer at the time and my assignment was to photograph the Police Commissioner enjoying his first experience as a 747 passenger.

  3. Born and bred in the a child, 1980 was my first experience on a plane, a return direct flight to Mumbhai.
    A lovely start to long haul flying, made to feel very comfortable on the Boeing 747, a first class experience.

  4. This report is incorrect. Qantas has confirmed they are only grounded until futher notice due to covid-19.

  5. This last 747 should be preserved some where that the airport as a momento to Qantas for a safety tribute for safe travel and zero loss to the fleet !

  6. Can’t understand all this love for the 747. The Qantas 747 product has been sub par for many years now. I’ve flown to JoBerg and Santiago in recent years and it was less than a premium Business experience on the jumbo. In fact I leapt at the opportunity to try the Latam 789 product last trip from MEL and despite itself not being the best J cabin around, it was decades ahead of the Qantas product.


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