Red, White And Q Farewell For Qantas Aircraft

Los Angeles, 04 March 2002

A Qantas Boeing 747SP (Special Performance) jet performed a fly past today to salute staff from the airline's USA telephone sales centre in Tuscon, Arizona.

The aircraft, VH-EAA, named City of Gold Coast/Tweed, has been retired by Qantas and sold for disposal to a company located in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

It departed Sydney on Monday, 4 March without passengers and carrying company equipment as freight. On the ferry flight from Honolulu to the USA mainland the aircraft was cleared for a fly past over the Qantas centre at Tuscon before landing at the nearby Marana Airport.

Under the theme "Red, White and Q Day", the 110 Qantas staff organised an Aussie-style barbecue to coincide with the fly past.

VH-EAA was delivered to Qantas from the Boeing plant in Seattle on 23 January 1981 and in more than 20 years' service it accumulated 75,000 air hours and 14,000 cycles.

A second Qantas SP, VH-EAB named City of Traralgon - delivered on 31 August 1981 - flew out of Sydney for the final time on 29 November last year, also for disposal in Arizona.

Qantas initially used the two SPs on services between Australia and New Zealand, particularly to Wellington, because of the landing/take off capability on shorter runways and later on non-stop sectors between Australia and the USA West Coast.

Qantas has also announced that it will retire four B747-200 aircraft later this year as part of the fleet renewal program including 15 new Boeing 737-800s, six Boeing 747-400 ERs, 13 Airbus 330s and 12 Airbus 380s, scheduled for delivery over the next eight years.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2645)