Amazon has bought four Boeing 767s formerly flown by Qantas to bulk up its Amazon Air fleet of cargo jets.
The online retailer’s fast-growing freight airline will also welcome seven Boeing 767s from Delta Air Lines, in what represents the first outright purchase rather than ongoing lease of aircraft.
Qantas flew its last Boeing 767 passenger jet in December 2014, after 30 years in which the mid-sized twin-aisle jet dominated international routes to the Pacific (including New Zealand, Fiji and Honolulu) and Asia.
“It really launched Qantas into the Asia marketplace – Japan, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, all those sorts of places where we couldn’t really support the larger 747 aircraft,” reflected Qantas Boeing 767 Captain Mike Galvin during the jet’s farewell flight. “With 250 passengers it was just perfect.”
The 767 was later swung onto domestic routes, from the high-traffic corridor between Sydney and Melbourne to the transcontinental trek linking Australia’s east and west coasts.
Aircraft in the 40-strong Qantas Boeing 767 fleet were either scrapped for parts or sold off, with Canada’s WestJet picking up four jets across 2015-2016 to launch its own international services to London as it sought to challenge incumbent Air Canada.
(Another Qantas Boeing 767 ended up serving as Israel’s Air Force One.)
In July 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic reshaped demand for air travel, WestJet announced it would retire all four Boeing 767s, which had largely been replaced by the arrival in its hangars of modern and more fuel-efficient Boeing 787s.
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