Qantas retired its last 747-400 in a blaze of publicity earlier this month. The plane had more farewells than an aging Vegas crooner. But it is safely off the premises now, and everyone can move on. However, the plane’s departure does leave a couple of questions in its wake, including what aircraft will Qantas use to fly to South Africa?
Before Qantas grounded its international fleet earlier this year, a daily Boeing 747-400 service jetted back and forth between Sydney and Johannesburg. It was a long-standing and popular service, not least because it was the only service between Australia’s east coast and South Africa.
It also enjoyed the unique distinction of being the only scheduled service in the world to overfly Melbourne in a north-south direction. Further, the flight’s deep dive into the sub-Antarctic regions made it the world’s most southerly scheduled passenger service.
That a jumbo jet operated the service only heightened its appeal to bucket-list travelers and those who regularly flew the route.
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The Dreamliner will replace the jumbo jet
When the services resume, the 747-400 will get replaced by the 787-9 Dreamliner. It’s a nice enough plane but not the same. However, the Dreamliner can fly 14,800 kilometers, giving it the legs to cover the 11,060 kilometer flight across to Johannesburg.
Boeing’s Dreamliners can now operate up to 330 minutes from an airport. For several