Whilst I’m sad of its withdrawal from most international routes, I’m eager (and gunning) to get onboard with a B747 domestically in Australia. Yes you read right….Qantas will fly the queen of the skies, the Boeing 747 between Sydney and Perth from late July.
The B747 will get a shot at domestic duties before its retirement from the Qantas fleet in 2020. For some like me this is like a John Farnham final tour (but Qantas doesn’t plan on making another surprise tour down the track – retirement sadly means retirement).
Don’t expect to see the Boeing 747 doing the east-west leg daily. It’s rumoured QF581, QF582, QF583 and QF568 will be the flights to get the B747 treatment from August 9.
Whilst Business Class passengers will be slightly disadvantaged by the lie-flat Skybed II 2-3-2 arrangement, top tier frequent flyers booked in economy class will be the real winners here with the change with the ability to pre-select seats in the B747 premium economy cabin based on status.
It’ll be interesting to see where the B747 ends up before retirement. Despite being one of the critics against the retirement, I admit this is one move recently by Qantas around the B747 that I do support.
For some like me it was a sad but inevitable day when Qantas announced this week it was retiring its remaining 10 strong B747-400 jumbos by 2020. The iconic queen of the skies will be replaced by an order of six Boeing 787-9 jets, bringing the total number of Qantas Dreamliners to 14.
The jumbo has been the backbone of Qantas International for over 40 years. The airline currently flies the ageing B747 jumbos to the USA (and seasonally to Vancouver), Asia, South America and South Africa, with some of those routes to be taken over by the Boeing 787 and others handed to the A330.
It is anticipated that the first of the additional 787-9s will be delivered in late 2019 with the remaining five to be rolled out quickly over the following 12 months. The new Dreamliners are expected to take off to destinations such as Europe, Asia and South Africa with Qantas looking increasingly likely over the next year to announce Paris and Germany as their next European destinations.
Until its retirement, I personally will preference the B747 over the B787 where the option is given to me. Whilst the B787 is innovative in terms of of fuel and tech spec, the plane is ‘planey’ bland and doesn’t have anything on the B747 in terms of wow factor,