The plane that shrank the world farewells Canberra one last time

Dominic Giannini 17 July 2020 15
The final 747 flight in the ACT

The final passenger flight for a 747 took place over Canberra on Friday, 17 July. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

The legendary Boeing 747 – the plane that flew Space shuttles, and made air travel safe and affordable for everyone else – is saying its final farewells from the Qantas fleet, and yesterday it tipped its wings to Canberra.

The 747 landed arrived at Canberra Airport from Sydney at 10:15 am before taking one last – albeit slightly delayed – joy flight over Brindabella National Park, down to Kosciuszko and then back up to Canberra with two final low passes over Lake Burley Griffin.

Last month Qantas announced it would retire its last two 747s in July as the ‘Queen of the Skies’ is replaced by the newer Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s.

The final flight

The final Qantas 747 final flight over Parliament House on Friday, 17 July. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Three joy flights over Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney are taking place this month to farewell the iconic plane. Melbourne will miss out on a farewell touchdown because of COVID-19.

Tickets for the one-hour joy flights sold out within 15 minutes and set nostalgic travellers back $747 for business class and $400 for economy. Premium economy was reserved for Qantas staff members.

The flight received a water fountain tribute from Canberra Airport’s fire trucks following the final flight over Canberra.

The first Qantas 747 took to the skies in 1971, three years after Boeing rolled out the aircraft and one year after its first commercial flight from New York to London.

The aircraft also made history in 1989 by flying non-stop to Sydney from London, although there were no passengers on board and special fuel was used to cover the distance.

Qantas 747 Fleet Captain Owen Weaver said the 747 has a special place in the hearts of many Australians.

“The 747 has been a magnificent aircraft and it’s fitting that we celebrate the end of five decades of history-making moments for the national carrier and aviation in Australia,” Captain Weaver said.

Today’s flight over Canberra marked the very last time the Qantas 747 will carry passengers, although it won’t be the last flight. The aircraft will depart Sydney on 22 July 2020 as flight QF7474, bound for a storage facility in the Mojave Desert in the United States.

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15 Responses to The plane that shrank the world farewells Canberra one last time
Brisal Brisal 9:16 am 20 Jul 20

This can’t have been well advertised! The first I knew about it was reading about it here. How disappointing.

Kit Huang Kit Huang 10:51 pm 18 Jul 20

I am so very very disappointed (and cross with myself) that I did not know this would be happening and therefore missed seeing the giant fly our skies. What a beautiful sight that must have been!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:41 pm 18 Jul 20

Doesn’t appear to have flown over Tuggers which is good as we have enough airborne pollution down here already..

Frank Morella Frank Morella 8:40 pm 18 Jul 20

My grandfather celestino Morella worked as a gardener for a gentleman call Sir Roland Wilson who was the chairman of Qantas and ordered the 1st 747 for Qantas, his nickname in America was Mr Boeing!! He live in empire cct Forrest!

Margaret Lay Margaret Lay 3:59 pm 18 Jul 20

Saw it low over Ainslie!

Nathan Brereton Nathan Brereton 2:45 pm 18 Jul 20

Something tells me you’d be living for this Ben Johnson

    Ben Johnson Ben Johnson 2:55 pm 18 Jul 20

    Nathan Brereton I still don’t understand why Qantas et al aren’t chucking on some 12 hour joy flights around Aus ✈️ would be amazing!

Melanie Akhurst Melanie Akhurst 1:19 pm 18 Jul 20

Might have been clear airspace compaired to Sydney and Melbourne airports?

Khyle Lambert Khyle Lambert 11:07 am 18 Jul 20

Julian Ciempka this the thing you were talking about?

    Julian Ciempka Julian Ciempka 11:24 am 18 Jul 20

    Khyle Lambert that's the one. Very large news that goes over my head

Alan Rose Alan Rose 10:04 am 18 Jul 20

Seems odd that the 747 would farewell to Canberra as we never really had them as a regular flight from here. All of the 747 flights I’ve been on are from Sydney.

    Mat Barber Mat Barber 1:05 pm 18 Jul 20

    Alan Rose was meant to be in Melbourne but due to their covid outbreak they decided to run the 3rd flight out of Canberra instead.

    Julia Ross Julia Ross 1:45 pm 18 Jul 20

    Alan Rose I can't remember seeing a 747 in Canberra, except perhaps a flight had to be diverted for some reason.

    Chris Olsen Chris Olsen 5:29 pm 18 Jul 20

    Julia Ross A Saudi princess had her private one at the airport a couple of years ago, and Airforce One when Obama was in town, but apart from that and diversions that’s pretty much it.

Sue McShane Sue McShane 9:41 am 18 Jul 20

Terry Tea Here you go. This explains the last flights and has some great pics of her over Canberra x

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