Historic First Qantas Jet to Return to Australia

Sydney, 09 October 2006

More than 47 years after the first Boeing 707 jet airliner joined the Qantas fleet, the aircraft, previously known as City of Canberra is set to make an historic return to Australia.

Qantas Chairman Margaret Jackson and Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator Ian Campbell today announced that the first Qantas Boeing 707, the first jet aircraft sold outside of the United States, would make a celebratory return to Australia next month.

"I’m proud to announce that this Boeing 707, believed to be the last and oldest of its kind in operation, will make its permanent home at the Qantas Founders’ Outback Museum in Longreach, Queensland," she said.

"The aircraft will depart London bound for the United States retracing its original route from Honolulu and Nadi to Sydney arriving in early November.

Ms Jackson said the aircraft would visit Brisbane before its final destination in Longreach.

"Thanks to the funding of $1 million from the Australian Government and the efforts of some dedicated Australian aviation enthusiasts, both within and from outside Qantas, this aviation milestone is soon to come full circle.

"This aircraft played an important role in our history, literally bringing the world closer to Australia. The Boeing 707 reduced the flight time between Sydney and London from 48 hours to 27 hours, which is comparable to today’s trip of 23 hours.

"The introduction of the Boeing 707 also started a collaboration between Qantas and the Boeing Company on aircraft design, with Boeing’s 747s, 767s, 737s, and 717s joining the Qantas fleet at different times, and the latest – the 787 Dreamliner – to be welcomed in 2008," she said.

Ten retired Qantas engineers will ensure the aircraft’s airworthiness and an operating crew consisting of a Qantas Captain and two First Officers, all certified on the Boeing 707, are standing on the sidelines to fly the aircraft to Australia.

Ms Jackson said the repatriation of this aircraft was made possible thanks to the Australian Government, Boeing Australia and Shell.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3489)