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‘End of an era’: Qantas 747 jumbos to disappear

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Posted (edited)

IT’S one of the most popular planes to ever take to the skies and has reigned for more than 40 years, but sadly the days of the 747 jumbo jet are coming to an end.

 

Despite capturing the attention — and hearts — of passengers around the world for a generation, the aircraft affectionately known as the Queen of the Skies has fallen out of favour with major airlines in recent years. And today, Qantas became the latest to set a retirement date for the iconic aircraft.

 

The airline announced that its final six 747-400s will be out of service by the end of 2020 in what it has called the end of an era.

Qantas is the last Australian airline to still fly the aircraft.

 

In its place, Qantas has ordered six more 787-9 Dreamliners for its international network that CEO Alan Joyce says will improve efficiency, passenger comfort and route options.

 

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The Qantas 747 will soon be retired. Picture: Donal MoutainSource:Flickr

 

“This really is the end of one era and the start of another,” Mr Joyce said. “The jumbo has been the backbone of Qantas International for more than 40 years and we’ve flown almost every type that Boeing built.

 

“It’s fitting that its retirement is going to coincide with our centenary in 2020.”

 

He said that 747s have been in the Qantas fleet in various forms since 1971 and the future is now with the Dreamliner.

 

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A retired Qantas 747. Picture: Alan WilsonSource:Flickr

 

“Over the years, each new version of the 747 allowed Qantas to fly further and improve what we offered passengers. The Dreamliners are now doing the same thing.

 

“The 787 has better economics and a longer range, and it’s already opened up new routes like Perth to London. With a larger fleet of Dreamliners, we’ll be looking at destinations in the Americas, Asia, South Africa and Europe.

 

“By the end of 2020 we’ll have farewelled the 747, finished upgrading the cabins of our A380s, and welcomed our 14th 787.”

 

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It was once a glamorous jet.Source:Supplied

 

Mr Joyce said the Dreamliner carries fewer passengers than the larger 747 (236 seats versus 364), burns approximately 20 per cent less fuel and requires less maintenance.

 

To date, Qantas has taken delivery of four 787-9s with four more scheduled to arrive by the end of the year. It will receive the extra six planes by late 2020.

 

There are currently 10 747-400s left in the fleet and these will be retired between July this year and the end of 2020. The last of Qantas’ 747s was delivered by Boeing in 2013, making it 17 years old at time of retirement.

 

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It’s all over. Picture: Aero IcarusSource:Flickr

 

BYE BYE, QUEEN OF THE SKY

Once the largest passenger plane on Earth — before the A380 took over — the number of 747s has been declining in recent years.

 

There’s simply no demand anymore, with Boeing predicting more interest in bigger twin-engine aircraft like the 777X or its rival Airbus’ A350, CNN reports.

 

There’s not a single US carrier that still flies 747 — with Delta sending its final 747 to an Arizona “boneyard” earlier this year, and United saying goodbye in December.

 

“Frankly we really don’t see much demand for really big aeroplanes,” Boeing vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth said last June.

 

“There will just be a handful moving forward. Things we do for VIPs, things we do for the president, military operations, but we don’t see a significant demand for passenger 747-8s or A380s.

 

“ ... Going forward, sales of the aeroplane will be closely tied to the cargo market. Our work continues to secure additional 747-8 Freighter orders.”

 

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So glamorous.Source:Supplied

 

The 747s were the first twin-aisle, wide-body passenger planes, and were debuted by Pan Am in 1970.

 

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Qantas is saying bye to its 747s. Picture: Chris FithallSource:Flickr

    Edited by Guest

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facthunter

The first real "quality" high capacity international mass people mover. Must have carried the bulk of the International Market for the last 40 years with a high cruise speed as well.as comfort. The "newer " offerings are higher flying smaller and seat/km costs considerably lower with greater RANGE. The B 747 is one of Aviations "greats" whatever happens from now on. Nev

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Admin

Nev, do you think that in time to come that the A380 might one day be considered in the same way?

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fly_tornado

Depends on the outcome of the CFM56-7B inspections, these large turbofan engines could be vulnerable to blade failure

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Guest
Posted (edited)

The little lepricorn has been the worst CEO in QF's history he should have got the B777 a hundred years ago!! The B747 was great in its day but has been a dinosaur for years!

    Edited by Guest

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bexrbetter
Posted (edited)

Well after passing through Hong Kong Airport for the umpteenth time late last year, I wouldn't worry about a lack of Jumbos if you glance over at the freight carriers on the other side of the runways..

 

You can see numbers of them on Google maps ..

    Edited by Guest

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facthunter

Ian, There's a time in History for a thing to happen. The B747 was the right plane for the time and while they get expensive to keep going when they are older, and are too heavy by modern standards. It was a well made honest quality design in the older technology mould, a bit like the Douglas built DC3 against the period it emerged. where it's size was almost overwhelming for some aviation observers compared with what else was available. and it was ALL metal Not wood. It did still have some fabric on it in places. Many of them are still going and it's a 1936 era plane. Back then Douglas was the one to admire.

The A-380 was made bigger than the B 747 as It's one way to achieve seat Km economy. Scale effect makes Bigger more efficient IF you can fill it. Flying any plane 1/2 empty makes it hard to cut a profit as margins are small in a highly competitive (often Gov't subsidised) environment. You have to pack them in or lose money every hour you fly.

The A 380 is certainly an impressive piece of technology but they are built in different era's. Whether the A 380 has a profitable future is hard to predict. I wouldn't like to be anticipating the Industry's future and building planes. Fuel economy has improved vastly. That's generally running higher turbine temps high bypass ratios and gas flow improvements in the engines which run higher hours than ever imagined years ago.. You couldn't run trucks like the way some planes operate. They spend a lot of time in the air. Whether the Carbon Fibre structure will be the no maintenance long lasting thing it's supposed to be we will see. Nev

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