Farewell Qantas 747

Yesterday, Wednesday 22 July 2020, the final Qantas 747 departed Australia for the last time. After 49 years, there are no more 747s in the Qantas fleet.

The last Qantas 747 taking off from Sydney Airport for the final time – 22/07/20 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

VH-OEJ, a 747-400ER, was wheels up from Sydney “Kingsford Smith” Airport at 3:28pm before completing a low level flyover of many Sydney landmarks. The flyover took the plane back over the airport, over Bondi Beach, out to Sydney Olympic Park before the plane dipped its wings to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House over Sydney Harbour. After its flyover of Sydney, the plane headed south to say farewell to the first 747-400, VH-OJA at HARS in Wollongong before heading out over the Pacific. Not done yet, the pilots left behind a Kangaroo in the sky as a fitting final farewell for Australia’s last 747.

The final 747 traced a Kangaroo in the sky off the East Coast before it headed over the Pacific – Transport NSW Blog Collection via FlightRadar24

Qantas took delivery of its first Boeing 747 in August 1971, with the first passenger flight on 17 September 1971 from Sydney to Singapore. In nearly 49 years of service with Qantas, the 747 fleet has flown over 3.6 billion kilometres, the equivalent of 4,700 return trips to the moon or 90,000 times around the world.

Qantas operated 65 747 aircraft over the years, including the 747-100, 747-200, 747-SP, 747-300, 747-400 and the 747-400ER. Each model had specific capabilities the allowed for longer operations carrying more passengers. In 1979, Qantas became the first airline to operate an all 747 fleet (in an era when Qantas was an all international airline).

The 747-400 was perhaps the most revolutionary 747 for Qantas. The first 747-400 delivery flight broke world records when it flew a world first non-stop commercial flight from London to Sydney in 20 hours and nine minutes. The 747-400 allowed for direct flights from Australia to the US and for one stop trips to Europe.

More recently, the 747 has operated on routes where the flagship A380 is too big but where smaller planes don’t have the range to operate. These included flights to Johannesburg, Santiago, Tokyo and Vancouver. The final regularly scheduled 747 passenger flight was operated by VH-OEE, as QF28 from Santiago to Sydney, touching down on 29 March 2020.

VH-OEE arriving from Santiago as QF28 on the final scheduled Qantas 747 arrival – 29/03/20 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Throughout July, Qantas operated a series of farewell flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra using VH-OEJ. Whilst this wasn’t the big farewell that Qantas has originally planned for later this year, it was only fitting to send off the queen like a queen. The final passenger flight operated as QF747 on 17 July 2020 as a roundtrip from Canberra. The final flight in Qantas colours occurred nearly a week later on 22 July 2020, when OEJ departed from Sydney to Mojave via Los Angeles. Some additional pictures from her departure from Sydney are below.

Where Can You Fly? | COVID-19 Edition – International

With COVID-19, travel has come to a grinding halt. Australians are not permitted to travel overseas from Australia and there have been significant limits placed on domestic travel as well. As a result, most of the regular passenger flights that fly into Sydney have been cancelled.

Whilst some cancelled flights may not matter to those of us at home, for Australians stuck overseas, it has become a nightmare to get home. There are now just 10 commercial international flights that are still flying into Sydney. Most of these flights operate on a less than daily basis, but they generally operate at least twice a week.

Map of remaining international flights to Sydney as of 15 April 2020 – GC Mapper

Qatar Airways is maintaining their daily QR908/909 service from their Doha hub. Passengers from nearly 70 destinations can still connect at Doha onto QR908 to Sydney, although you can’t leave the terminal due to a ban on foreign arrivals. This is the best option for passengers throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa due to the ease of connections and availability of flights with Qatar.

Malaysia Airlines is operating a twice weekly MH122/123 service from their Kuala Lumpur hub. You can still transit via KL, however Malaysia Airlines has cancelled most of their flights and as such limited options are available. You can connect to KLM flights to Amsterdam at KL on a combined Malaysia Airlines-KLM ticket.

Singapore Airlines is operating at least twice weekly on their SQ211/232 service from their Singapore hub. Australians cannot transit in Singapore as all transit passengers have been banned from Singapore. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Singapore or Singaporeans returning to Singapore.

Garuda Indonesia is operating a once weekly GA712/713 service from their Jakata Hub. Australians cannot transit in Indonesia as all transit passengers have been banned from Indonesia. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Indonesia or Indonesians returning to Indonesia.

Cathay Pacific is maintaining a trice weekly CX100/101 service from their Hong Kong hub. Australians cannot transit in Hong Kong as all transit passengers have been banned from   Hong Kong. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Hong Kong or Hong Kongers returning to Hong Kong.

China Airlines is maintaining a twice weekly CI51/52 service from their Taipei hub. Australians cannot transit in Taipei as all transit passengers have been banned from   Taipei. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Taipei or Taiwanese returning to Taipei. 

All Nippon Airways is continuing to operate three to four times weekly on its NH879/880 service from their Tokyo Haneda hub. Passengers can still transit via Tokyo Haneda, however ANA has significantly reduced their network. Options exist for connections from the US and Europe.

United Airlines is still operating their daily UA863/870 service from their San Francisco hub. You can still connect from domestic US flights onto the service to Sydney, with United offering transit from all major American cities. Passengers can transit from overseas where that country has not been restricted from transit by US officials.

LATAM is maintaining its four times weekly LA800/801 service from their Santiago hub via Auckland. Australians can still connect from throughout South America onto LATAM flights in Santiago. LATAM has special dispensation to allow for passengers to transit through New Zealand on this flight, as otherwise New Zealand have banned transit passengers.

Air New Zealand is still operating their three times weekly NZ103/104 service from their Auckland hub. Australians cannot transit in New Zealand as all transit passengers have been banned from New Zealand. These flights are only for Australians returning home from New Zealand or New Zealanders returning to New Zealand. 

Australians can obviously return home easily by commercial means if they happen to be in one of the 10 destinations with service to Sydney. For those who aren’t in one of these 10 cities, Qatar Airways via Doha, ANA via Tokyo Haneda, United via San Francisco and LATAM via Santiago are the best options. This is because they are the only four places where you can still connect onto a flight to Sydney as a transit passenger.

Reader Submissions – We Want Your Pictures

Here at Transport NSW Blog, we love receiving submissions from our loyal fanbase of readers. From featured bus route suggestions to photos, we want to see more. When we can, with the permission of the owner of the information, we can’t help but share stuff with the rest of our readers. Don’t forget to submit all your transport related questions and pictures for us to see.

Thanks to Cooper Crellin for the pictures on his recent flight to Europe



Where Can You Fly? – A350

For our final edition of “Where Can You Fly?,” I was asked to do a post on all the different places you can fly the A350 from Sydney.

The two airlines who either fly or have announced A350 flights to Sydney are Cathay Pacific and China Airlines. Cathay Pacific will bring the larger A350-1000 to Sydney daily from August 2018 whilst China Airlines has been flying the smaller A350-900 twice daily since December 2017.


Here is where you can fly;

  • Hong Kong – Cathay Pacific
  • Taipei – China Airlines

The A350 has been one of the most popular passenger plane order choices for long haul flights over the past few years. This will eventually lead to more A350 carriers in Sydney. Qantas is even considering purchasing and basing A350s in Sydney, with Airbus’s demo model visiting back in February.

I really hope you have enjoyed the “Where Can You Fly?” segments! If you would like to see the return of “Where Can You Fly?” or perhaps have an idea for a different segment, please let us know, we love to hear your ideas and thoughts.

Where Can You Fly? – Qantas International

As requested, this week we will be looking at all the places you can fly Qantas internationally from their main hub here in Sydney.

Qantas has been flying internationally from Sydney since the late 1930s, with flights to Singapore via Darwin and to Auckland. Over time it expanded, contracted and then again expanded its network of international destinations. Round the world flights from Sydney operated through the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Today, Qantas flies to 24 international destinations across all the inhabited continents from Sydney. These flights vary in their frequency from 3 weekly during peak season only to more than 5 daily flights.


The destinations and aircraft that fly there are listed below.

  • Auckland – A330, 737
  • Bangkok – A330
  • Beijing – A330
  • Christchurch – 737
  • Dallas-Fort Worth – A380
  • Denpasar – 737
  • Hong Kong – A330, A380, 747
  • Honolulu – A330
  • Jakarta – A330
  • Johannesburg – 747
  • London (via Singapore) – A380
  • Los Angeles – A380, 747
  • Manila – A330
  • New York JFK (via Los Angeles) – 747
  • Noumea – 737
  • Osaka – A330
  • Queenstown – 737
  • San Francisco – 747
  • Santiago – 747
  • Shanghai Pudong – A330
  • Singapore – A330, A380
  • Tokyo Haneda – 747
  • Vancouver – 747
  • Wellington – 737

Qantas 747 Retirement Date Set, 787s coming to Sydney

Qantas has today announced that they will be ordering a further six Boeing 787-9 aircraft, to be delivered in 2019-2020. These new 787 orders are in addition to the four currently on order and will take the size of the 787 fleet to 14.

As part of this, Qantas plans to accelerate the retirement of their remaining 10 Boeing 747-400 aircraft, with all aircraft leaving the fleet by November 2020. VH-OEB, the oldest of the 747s at 25 years old will be retired in July, whilst the ER variants built in 2003 – 2004 will be the last to leave the fleet.

This decision marks the end of an era for Qantas, who has operated the “Queen of the Sky” since 1971. They have operated multiple variants including dozens of individual aircraft and a stint being the worlds only 747 exclusive operator. It will mean that in 2020, for the first time in 49 years that there will be no more 747s in the Qantas fleet.

As most the 747s are based in Sydney, this will see some  787s based in Sydney. Currently no Qantas 787s fly into Sydney on a regular basis as they based in Brisbane and Melbourne. The aircraft will be used on routes to destinations such as Johannesburg, Santiago and San Francisco.

Much of the scheduling is still to be worked out, but here at Transport NSW blog, we don’t believe that all 747s will be replaced by 787s. We are tipping A380s for Hong Kong and A330s for Tokyo as these aircraft are more suited to the shorter higher demand nature of these routes. For these same reasons, we think that Hong Kong and Tokyo will be the last Qantas 747 routes. Of course, this hasn’t been confirmed, but we love to speculate.

What are your opinions on retirement of the Queen of the Sky? Will you be sad to see the 747 go, or welcome the arrival of the high tech modern 787s? Let us know in the comments

Where Can You Fly? – South East Asia

Today we are looking at Where You Can Fly in South East Asia.

There are 10 different destinations across 7 different countries that you can fly to in South East Asia from Sydney. 15 different airlines service flights including AirAsia X, Air Niugini, British Airways, Cebu Pacific, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Jetstar, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Scoot, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines and Virgin Australia.

The airlines all use a variety of planes on the routes. Narrowbody 737 aircraft make a showing on selected flights to Denpasar, however mostly all flights are on widebody aircraft. Notable models include Emirates A380s to Bangkok, Malaysia Airlines A380s to Kuala Lumpur, Qantas A380s to Singapore, Singapore Airlines A380s to Singapore and Thai Airways 747s to Bangkok. Other flights are typically operated by either a 777, 787 or A330.


Destinations include;

  • Bangkok – Emirates, Qantas, Thai Airways
  • Denpasar – Garuda Indonesia, Jetstar, Qantas, Virgin Australia
  • Hanoi – Vietnam Airlines
  • Ho Chi Minh City – Jetstar, Vietnam Airlines
  • Jakarta – Garuda Indonesia, Qantas
  • Kuala Lumpur – AirAsia X, Malaysia Airlines
  • Manila – Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Qantas
  • Phuket – Jetstar
  • Port Moresby – Air Niugini
  • Singapore – British Airways,  Qantas, Scoot, Singapore Airlines

Where Can You Fly? – Boeing 747

In this edition of Where Can You Fly, we take a look at all the places you can fly on the 747 from Sydney.


Once the Queen of the Skies, today the 747 is becoming a rarity at airports around the world, with more A380s in service than 747s. Despite this, 3 operators still operate 747s out of Sydney, providing service to 9 destinations.

PanAm’s Clipper Flying Cloud (N734PA) was the first 747 to arrive in Sydney on 4 October 1970, marking the start of a new era for Sydney’s aviation market. The first Qantas 747 to be based in Sydney arrived soon after in September 1971. The longest ever 747 flight arrived in Sydney from London 17 August 1989, operated by Qantas’s new 747-400 VH-OJA. At the peak of operation, more than 10 airlines operated 747s into Sydney, serving dozens of destinations.

Today, only Qantas, Thai Airways and Korean Air operate 747s into Sydney. Qantas and Thai Airways both operate the popular but ageing 747-400, whilst Korean Air operates the newer but extremely rare 747-800. Qantas has a base for 8 of its 747s in Sydney.

The routes served are;

  • Bangkok – Thai Airways
  • Hong Kong – Qantas
  • Johannesberg – Qantas
  • Los Angeles – Qantas
  • New York – Qantas
  • Santiago – Qantas
  • San Francisco – Qantas
  • Seoul – Korean Air
  • Tokyo Haneda – Qantas
  • Vancouver – Qantas

Where Can You Fly? – New Zealand

Today we are looking at all of the places you can fly to in New Zealand from Sydney.

There are four destinations in New Zealand that you can fly to direct from Sydney. Six airlines operate flights including Air New Zealand, Emirates, Jetstar, LATAM, Qantas and Virgin Australia.

On routes to and from Auckland, Air New Zealand, Emirates, LATAM and Qantas use widebody aircraft, including the A380 by Emirates, 787 by AirNZ and LATAM and the A330 by Qantas. Emirates also uses the A380 on its flights to Christchurch. All other flights are operated by narrowbody aircraft such as the A320 or 737.

Routes between Sydney and New Zealand

The routes flown are;

  • Auckland – Air New Zealand, Emirates, Jetstar, LATAM, Qantas, Virgin Australia.
  • Christchurch – Air New Zealand, Emirates, Jetstar, Qantas, Virgin Australia.
  • Queenstown – Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas, Virgin Australia.
  • Wellington – Air New Zealand,  Qantas


Qantas Perth-London Inaugural Flight

*Not exactly NSW transport, but still very noteworthy*

Today Qantas operated the inaugral QF9 flight between Perth and London Heathrow. This was the first ever non-stop commercial flight between Australia and Europe. The flight was operated by VH-ZND “Emily Kame Kngwarreye,” a Boeing 787-9 aircraft with 236 seats.

DYfMdx6VwAASgVOImage result for emily kame kngwarreye qantas 787

The new groundbreaking flights allow for a 17 hour journey time between Australian and the UK. The original Qantas flights from Australia the UK in 1947 back in 1947 took 55 hours over 4 days. The new flight is 7828nm long, making it the longest 787 flight and second longest flight overall in the world.

The flight run to the following schedule;

QF9 MEL1620-1720PER1850-510+1 LHR D
QF10 LHR1315-1300+1PER1430+1-2055+1 MEL D

Qantas has been planning for this route since early in 2015. They have been flying the route everyday using flight simulators to allow for realistic conditions such as payload and weather.

Qantas has opened a new lounge at London back in November 2017 and will be opening a new international lounge at Perth. These new lounges ensure that premium passengers enjoy the entire journey.

Qantas has also introduced a new innovative menu on its flights between PER-LHR. Designed by Neil Perry’s Rockpool group the menu includes dishes such as Probiotic Bc30 infused Botanica cold pressed juice shots, tuna poke salad bowls  and dishes which feature ingredients that promote hydration such as green leafy vegetables, cucumber, strawberries and celery to increase hydration and help reduce jetlag along with creating dishes that encourage sleep at certain times during the flight.

The flight depart from the new dedicated Qantas International T3 in Perth alongside its twice daily flights to Singapore and thrice weekly flights to Auckland. The area uses swing bates that can also be used for domestic flights. Passengers will need to check in and pass security at T4 before walking airside to T3. In London, the flight will depart form T3.