• VH-OJA made a non-stop flight from London to Sydney in 1989 as it became the first Boeing 747-400 in Qantas service. (Qantas)
    VH-OJA made a non-stop flight from London to Sydney in 1989 as it became the first Boeing 747-400 in Qantas service. (Qantas)

Qantas will retire its very first Boeing 747-400 VH-OJA and donate it to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) for display at Illawarra Regional Airport.

VH-OJA City of Canberra made headlines in August 1989 when it completed the world's longest non-stop flight, from London to Sydney in 20 hours, 9 minutes and 5 seconds. The record still stands today.

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said it was important for such an iconic aircraft to be on display as a reminder of the role Qantas has played in aviation history.

“Qantas has been responsible for a lot of aviation firsts and many of them have centred on endurance and reliability. The record breaking flight of this Boeing aircraft was a technical and symbolic achievement because it showed what was possible with the latest generation of aircraft and that spirit of innovation still drives us today.

“We are excited that by gifting this newly retired aircraft to the HARS museum, we’re helping create a local tourism attraction as well as preserving a bit of our past,” added Mr Joyce.

Bob De La Hunty, President of HARS, said the society is delighted to be part of preserving a piece of modern aviation history.

“All our volunteers, including many former Qantas employees, are overwhelmed by the opportunity to showcase such a historic aircraft. We expect it to attract lots of attention together with our Lockheed Super Constellation, both of which were integral in building Qantas' international reputation.”

Ironically, VH-OJA will fly the world's shortest delivery flight when it is flown to Shellharbour from Sydney Airport in early March, a leg of only 10 minutes.

In a repeat of the effort required to retire B747 VH-EBQ to Longreach, the pilots scheduled to make the final flight of OJA are undergoing special simulator training, and the airline is working with CASA to get final approvals to land at Illawarra Regional Airport.

Some VH-OJA Facts

25.3 years in service

13,833 flights

4,094,568 passengers carried

Flown nearly 85 million km, which is equivalent to 110.2 return trips to the moon


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