Qantas Airways, the biggest airline company in Australia, operated their last 747 flight recently with a special goodbye – by drawing its iconic logo, a kangaroo, in the sky.
The retirement flight took off from Sydney on Australia’s east coast before heading over the Pacific to the Mojave Air and Space Force base in the Californian desert, where it will torn down and reduced to parts.
With six crew members and no passengers, flight QF 7474 began at low altitude then flew north to made a quick visit to airspace above Brisbane, to leave this special message in the sky.
In fact, the retirement was actually six months earlier than planned; the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the airline company to move up their schedule.
In recent months the aviation industry worldwide has taken a huge hit as many countries have been forced to go into lockdown.
British Airways announced their own decision to retire their 747 fleet earlier this month – again a decision put down to COVID-19, but unlike Qantas, BA moved their retirement schedule for the iconic aircraft up a full four years.
Another four-engined aircraft, the A380 has of late had a different tale to tell in the Middle East.
Emirates, the globally renowned company with the largest A380 fleet in the world, announced it was keeping its A380 fleet together for at least another 10 years. “It defined us, in many respects” Tim Clark, the president of Emirates said.
Still, after an announcement by Airbus that it would stop producing A380s after 2021, made in February this year, Emirates has ordered more than 100 of Boeing’s 777X and 50 Airbus A350s; both twin-engine aircraft.
In related airline news from this May, Emirates was keen to cancel delivery of five expected A380s, but with the planes in final assembly, Airbus pushed through with the deal.