The last Qantas Boeing 747 airliner preparing to take off from Sydney airport for its journey to the Mojave Desert in California yesterday.
The downturn in the airline industry following travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic has forced Qantas to retire its grounded 747s after the jets have flown with the Australian carrier for almost 50 years.
Qantas 747s carried more than 250 million people in almost half a century of service, including Queen Elizabeth II and every Australian Olympic team since 1984. The four-engine plane, with less favourable economics than newer-generation aircraft, had fallen out of favour even before the pandemic, but Qantas, along with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and KLM, has hastened its retirement due to the lack of international travel demand.
During the official farewell event yesterday, a Qantas employee signed on the belly of the plane.